The Lanka Premier League is a Twenty20 cricket league operated by Sri Lanka Cricket.
The tournament was initially supposed to start in 2018 but administrative issues pushed the event back. The LPL eventually got up and running in 2020.
Jaffna Kings monopolise the Lanka Premier League winners list with three titles (2020, 2021 and 2022). Let's have a look at who the winners defeated in each edition to claim the coveted title.
Lanka Premier League 2020: Jaffna Kings
Jaffna Kings, who previously operated as Jaffna Stallions, finished third in the league stage. The team, then led by Thisara Perera, registered four consecutive wins in the league phase before settling for three defeats and a draw in the remaining fixtures.
In the semi-finals, Jaffna rode on Johnson Charles’ 56-ball 76 and Wanindu Hasaranga’s impressive spell of 3/15 to beat Dambulla Giants (formerly Dambulla Viiking) by 35 runs and set up a final against Galle Gladiators.
After winning the toss and batting first, Jaffna Kings scored 188/6 with Shoaib Malik (46 runs off 35 balls) and Thisara Perera (39 runs in 14 balls) leading the charge.
In reply, the Gladiators posted a score of 135/9. Bhanuka Rajapaksa (40 runs in 17 balls) and Azam Khan (36 runs in 17 balls) played strong cameos but their efforts went in vain.
The 53-run victory in the final crowned Jaffna Kings as the inaugural LPL champions.
Lanka Premier League 2021: Jaffna Kings
In the second edition of Lanka Premier League, Jaffna Kings finished first in the league phase with six wins and two defeats in eight games.
As a matter of fact, both their defeats came against Galle Gladiators, the runners-up in the 2020 edition. After winning the opening game of the 2021 season with a 54-run victory, the Gladiators registered a win by 20 runs in the second meeting.
Jaffna Kings slumped to a third consecutive loss against Galle Gladiators when the teams clashed in Qualifier 1. The efforts of Kusal Mendis (85 runs) and Nuwan Thushara (5/13) inspired GG to a 64-run win and become the first finalist of LPL 2021.
A comfortable 23-run victory in Qualifier 2 against Dambulla Giants meant Jaffna Kings would once again play Galle Gladiators in a Lanka Premier League final. It was also the two team’s fourth meeting in the 2021 edition.
Half-centuries from Avishka Fernando (63) and Tom Kohler-Cadmore (57) helped JK post an eventual match-winning score of 201/3 in 20 overs.
When it was their turn to bat, Galle Gladiators fell short of the 211-run target as Wanindu Hasaranga (2/30) and Chaturanga de Silva (2/15) helped Jaffna Kings restrict their opponents to 178/9.
Lanka Premier League 2022: Jaffna Kings
Jaffna Kings bagged their third successive Lanka Premier League title in 2022. Under the leadership of Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera, Jaffna Kings defeated Colombo Stars by two wickets in the LPL 2023 final at the R. Premadasa Stadium in December.
With six wins and two losses, the Kings secured their place in the LPL 2022 playoffs after finishing second in the standings with 12 points from eight matches.
The Thisara Perera-led Kings later beat Kandy Falcons by 24 runs (DLS method) in the Qualifier 1 to storm into their third consecutive LPL final.
For the three-time LPL winners, Avishka Fernando finished as the leading run-scorer with 339 runs in 10 matches at an average of 37.66 and a strike rate of 124.63.
Lanka Premier League winners list
Author: William Paul
Featured photo: AFP / ISHARA S. KODIKARA