'Iss bar naye champion milenge' - Fans react as B-Love Kandy knock Jaffna Kings out of LPL 2023 in Eliminator, Dambulla Aura secure final berth

Dambulla Aura advanced to LPL 2023 final after defeating Galle Titans, while B-Love Kandy defeated Jaffna Kings to play Qualifier 2.

Rohit Kumar
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LPL 2023

LPL 2023 (Source: Twitter)

Dambulla Aura advanced to the Lanka Premier League (LPL) final for the first time with a six-wicket win over Galle Titans in Qualifier 1 at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium, Colombo on Thursday (August 17). Titans will get a second chance to make it through in Qualifier 2 against B-Love Kandy, who sent three-time champions Jaffna Kings home in Eliminator. That means after three years, the LPL will see a new champion be crowned.

After being put in to bat first, Titans could only set a below-par target of 147 for Aura. The game went down to the last over, but Aura had enough wickets in hand and was never in trouble. Titans got off to a poor start with the dismissal of opener Bhanuka Rajapaksa on the second ball. They lost another wicket in the powerplay, but Lasith Croospulle and Shakib Al Hasan put on a crucial partnership before the latter got dismissed in the 10th over.

Titans batted throughout the innings, but apart from opener Crospulle (62 off 80 balls), none of the other batsmen could cross 20 and were bowled out for 146 runs. In reply, Aura did not have a positive start as Avishka Fernando fell early after striking a few boundaries. Sadeera Samarawickrama also struggled to find runs, but skipper Kusal Mendis (49 off 45) and Kushal Perera (53 off 39) batted brilliantly to keep them on track. There was a bit of drama at the end of the innings as Mendis and Perera got out, but Aura made no mess of it and got over the line.

Hasaranga's spin magic knocks three-time champions out of LPL 2023

Talking about the Eliminator match, an all-round performance by B-Love Kandy, led by their skipper Wanindu Hasaranga, kept their LPL 2023 final hopes alive. Batting first, Kandy posted a competitive total of 188 on the back of Mohammad Haris' blistering 79 off 49 balls and Dinesh Chandimal's 41 of 24 balls. In reply, Kings had a disastrous start with Charith Asalanka departing in the second over.

Hasaranga gave his team an early lead with two wickets in an over but Shoaib Malik and David Miller gave a little scare as the duo stitched a fifty-run stand. However, Kings had no answer to Hasaranga's spin wizardry as the Sri Lankan all-rounder took six wickets for just 9 runs in 3.2 overs. Kandy bowled out their opponents for 127 runs in 17.2 overs to record a massive 61-run victory.

Here's how Twitter reacted to LPL 2023's Qualifier 1 and Eliminator: