Sports unites everyone, even biggest rival politicians! As Sri Lanka successfully staged Inagrual Lanka Premier League (LPL), Former Sri Lanka Sports Minister Harin Fernando expressed his happiness and described the tournament as a milestone in Island’s cricket history.
Interestingly, he is the leader of opposition presently. Even then, he praised a tournament, which was supervised by his successor and political rival Namal Rajapaksa.
“It’s an incredible achievement for a small country like Sri Lanka! The SLC, under the guidance of Namal Rajapaksa, organized it in the middle of a global pandemic. Certainly, it will give a ray of hope to millions of Sri Lankans in moving forward in this time of crisis. I can proudly say that Cricket unites Sri Lanka” Harin Fernando exclusively told Cricket Age.
Like Namal, Harin too is a passionate follower of cricket! His tenure as Sports Minister will always be remembered as one of the best in Sri Lanka history. So, it’s obvious that the success of LPL has given him immense satisfaction.
“I am particularly happy for Jaffna Stallions. This will undoubtedly create a renaissance in cricket in the North of our country” he added further.
Earlier in the day, Harin congratulated Namal Rajapaksa and SLC top officials on twitter also.
“Congratulations Jaffna for winning LPL. Special mention for Sports Min @RajapaksaNamal SLC President Shammi & LPL director Ravin for staging @LPLT20 successfully amidst pandamic. As a Cricket fan it’s great to see young cricketers getting opportunity to play competitive cricket” he posted on his official twitter account.
Namal also immediately replied to Harin, thanking him for his support.
“Thank you @fernandoharin for your kind words. You’ve always encouraged and supported young sportsmen and women and country’s sports in general. Thanks for being such a good sport!” Namal replied.
In a thrilling final on Wednesday, former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik set up Jaffna Stallions to a massive 53-run win over Galle Gladiators to claim the inaugural title.
The final witnessed two contrasting halves of play after the Stallions captain Thisara Perera won the toss and opted to bat first at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Hambantota.
Openers Avishka Fernando (27 off 23) and Johnson Charles (26 off 15) laid the foundation with a 44-run opening stand, then Malik (46 off 35) took over as the Mohammad Amir-led bowling attack struggled to contain the Stallions.
Malik’s knock was ably supported by Dhananjaya de Silva (33 off 20) and skipper Perera, who remained unbeaten on 39 off 14 as they set a 189-run target for the Gladiators.
Dhananjaya Lakshan claimed three wickets, including those of Malik and Dhananjaya, while Amir, Sahan Arachchige and Sandakan took a wicket each.
Malik, 38, then returned to take two wickets in his three overs’ spell for just 13 runs even as Gladiators’ chase got off to a horrendous start.
They lost opener Hazratullah Zazai (0 off 2) off the third ball of the innings, to Dhananjaya, then Danushka Gunathilaka (1 off 2) found himself short to a Perera fielding effort to leave Gladiators 1t 3/2 inside the second over. Ahsan Ali (6 off 6) soon joined the duo in the hut.
Skipper Bhanuka Rajapaksa hit 17-ball 40 with the help of three fours and four sixes to briefly revived the chase. Azam Khan also contributed with 17-ball 36, but they could manage only 135/9 in 20 overs.