The inaugural season of the T20 Lanka Premier League 2020 came to a thrilling end on Wednesday night with Jaffna Stallions lifting the trophy after beating Galle Gladiators by 53 runs in the final in Hambantota.
Veteran Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik starred with both bat and ball as Jaffna Stallions restricted Galle Gladiators to 135 for 9 after posting 188 for 6 on the board.
Malik top-scored for Jaffna with 46 off 35 balls to help Jaffna near the 190-run mark after they won the toss and elected to bat first.
He was part of a big partnership worth 69 off 44 with Dhananjaya de Silva (33 off 20 balls) after the openers Johnson Charles (26) and Avishka Fernando (27) added 44 off 31. Captain Thisara Perera also made a crucial contributions of 39 off 14 balls after coming in at No. 6.
Malik then bagged two wickets for 13 runs from his 3 overs along with Usman Shinwari (2 for 20) to help Jaffna restrict Galle under 140 in 20 overs.
“I really enjoyed the tournament. Sometimes you are successful, sometimes you are not, you got to back yourself. The trophy is the biggest thing, that’s a big satisfaction. \
“Happy with the performance. Would like to congratulate the Gladiators who played good cricket. We started off really well, but we struggled a bit in the middle part of the tournament. That happens in such tournaments,” Malik said after picking up his man-of-the-match award.
Indian tennis superstar Sania Mirza and her father Imran Mirza, Malik’s wife and father-in-law respectively, were over the moon with the former Pakistan captain’s all-rounder performance and took to Twitter to express their joy.
“‘Player of the Match’ Shoaib Malik top-scores, claims 2 crucial wickets and a catch in the final of T20 Lanka Premier League to carry Jaffna Stallions to a title win! @realshoaibmalik @MirzaSania #shoaibmalik,” Imran Mirza posted which his daughter Sania retweeted along with a couple of smileys.
Malik meanwhile, dedicated his Player of the Match award to the little kids who lost their lives in the Peshawer tragedy. It has been six years since a gruesome terrorist attack on the Army Public School (APS) left 149 people dead which included 132 children.
Malik had a good season with the bat, scoring 203 runs from 10 matches at 25.37 with one half-century while with the ball, he saved his best for the last by bagging a couple of wickets.