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Andrew Fidel Fernando
December 5, 2013
A five-wicket haul from Sajeewa Weerakoon, and 72 from Lahiru Thirimanne helped Ragama Cricket Club maintain their unbeaten run in the competition, inflicting a seven-wicket defeat on Badureliya Sports Club. Badureliya had ridden fifties from Saman Jayantha and Andy Solomons to 152 for 3 after 36 overs, but surrendered seven wickets - four of them to Weerakoon - for 37 runs after that, to finish on 189.
Batting at his favoured no. 3 position, Thirimanne hit his second fifty in the three matches so far, and forged a 114-run partnership with Ian Daniel, who also hit his second fifty in the tournament. Daniel was at the crease when Ragama strolled to victory, in the 39th over.
Air Force Sports Club resisted the Army Sports Club spinners better than either of the previous visitors to Army's Panagoda ground had, but the hosts still waltzed to an easy five-wicket victory, with 10.3 overs left. Most batsmen in Air Force's top order got starts, but although they lost only four wickets to Army's often-irresistible spinners, none went on to a half-century. Wickets at regular intervals slowed their progress, and Air Force finished on 219 for 9 in their 50 overs.
The visitors were in the game when they had Army at 104 for 4 in the 28th over, but having failed to provide a defining contribution with his legspin, Seekkuge Prasanna produced one with the bat. His manic 84 not out came from 32 deliveries, and included 10 sixes - a fact which should not evade the national selectors who are considering Prasanna for a place in the World Twenty20 squad, as a slow-bowling allrounder.
Panadura Sports Club's rolling collapse handed Colts Cricket Club the easiest victory in a round populated with one-sided games. Colts' opening bowlers Ishan Jayaratne and Kanishka Alvitigala removed Panadura's top four for 24, in their opening spells, before seam-bowler Sanitha de Mel and offspinner Dilruwan Perera took two wickets each. Charitha Buddhika was the only Panadura batsman to play a significant innings, as he ground out an unbeaten 38, while his side fell for 121 in the 42nd over.
Shehan Fernando's unbeaten 73 secured the eight-wicket win for Colts, in the 27th over.
A Tamil Union attack featuring three Sri Lanka Test bowlers posed very resistance to Sinhalese Sports Club, who reeled in the 155 with seven wickets in hand, inside 39 overs. Tillakaratne Dilshan's dismissal for one run sparked a Tamil Union collapse that left them precariously placed at 89 for 6, before Rangana Herath's 42-run stand with Ramith Rambukwella took the team to 155. SSC's fast bowlers and their spinners prospered with equal measure at their home ground, as four bowlers took two wickets apiece.
Tamil Union created the makings of a comeback win when Shaminda Eranga and Suranga Lakmal dismissed the SSC openers in the first four overs, but Kaushal Silva further entrenched himself as Dilshan's likely Test successor, with a steadying, unbeaten 74. Herath struck to remove Chamara Kapugedara with the score on 63, but that was all the success the visitors had, as Silva and Thilina Kandamby's 96-run stand took SSC home.
Geeth Kumara's 92-ball 109 and Umesh Karunaratne's 5 for 49 set up Chilaw Marian's 19-run Duckworth-Lewis victory over Moors Sports Club, in the only match curtailed by rain in round three. Having chosen to bat first at Moors' home ground, Chilaw were 37 for 3 before Kumara and Karunaratne steadied he innings with an 85-run stand. A brisk 70-run association with Buddi Samarawickrama followed, before Saliya Saman's 34-ball 43 propelled Chilaw to 283 all in the final over. Moors left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara took 4 for 43.
Moors lost both their openers cheaply to Karunaratne, before Chaturanga de Silva led a resurgence with 50. Moors, however, could not manage a meaningful stand until Dilhara Lokuhettige joined forces with Isham Ghouse for the seventh wicket. The pair made 65 before Ghouse was dismissed, and the rain came two balls later, leaving Lokuhettige stranded on 40 off 30, chasing an unlikely win.
Nondescripts Cricket Club did not stray from the tournament trend of teams batting second comfortably chasing down unconvincing totals, as they surpassed Ports Authority Cricket Club's 194 with five wickets in hand, and ten overs remaining.
NCC seam bowler Chaminda Vidanapathirana struck early blows to help restrict Ports Authority to 95 for 5, before the spin bowlers took over, albeit after a brief resurgence from the opposition. Left-arm spinner Sohan Boralessa and offspinner Tharindu Kaushal have competed fiercely for wickets in this tournament, and they took three apiece in this match, alongside Vidanapathirana. Kaushal's figures were the more remarkable however, as he conceded only 16 from his 10 overs.
Opening wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella struck his second fine innings in the tournament, as he ensured the chase stayed on course despite wickets at the other end. When he departed for 87 from 108 balls, NCC required only 26 for victory, and Angelo Perera was unbeaten on his second fifty of the tournament when they got there.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
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