Kaushal hundred guides SSC to close win
Sinhalese Sports Club 242 for 8 (Kaushal 102*) beat Ragama Cricket Club 238 for 8 (Zoysa 75, Prasad 3-48) by two wickets
On the day he was named in the Test squad, wicketkeeper-batsman Kaushal Silva affirmed the selectors' faith to score an unbeaten 102 in Sinhalese Sports Club's tense two-wicket victory in the Premier Limited Over Tournament semi-final against Ragama Cricket Club.
Silva's innings was all the more admirable because it was very nearly a lone stand. No one else in the top nine crossed 20, but he and Dhammika Prasad forged a brisk 56-run association for the ninth wicket to steal victory when defeat had seemed the more likely outcome for much of their chase of 239.
Having asked Ragama to bat first, SSC's bowlers had made fine progress in the first half of the innings, reducing the opposition to 88 for 4 in the 25th over. Wicketkeeper-batsman Sameera de Zoysa led Ragama's resurgence, however, and at the end of his 82-run fifth-wicket partnership with Chanaka Wijesinghe, Ragama had overcome their early stutter.
De Zoysa was dismissed for a run-a-ball 75 in the 48th over, before Malinga Bandara helped lift the total to 238 for 8 in 50 overs. Prasad took 3 for 48 for SSC.
Ragama's opening bowlers struck early in the chase, removing Mahela Jayawardene and his opening partner inside nine overs, before left-arm spinner Sajeewa Weerakoon came on to inflict damage to the middle order. SSC slipped from 80 for 3 to 146 for 6 before Silva strung together a 34-run stand with Upul Bandara to partially arrest the slide.
Two more quick wickets left SSC at 182 for 8, with 53 to get off the last 43 balls, but three sixes off Prasad's blade eased the required rate, and Silva saw the chase home with four balls to spare.
SSC will play Nondescripts Cricket Club in the final at the Premadasa Stadium, on Saturday. NCC had cruised to a seven-wicket win in the teams' round-robin clash.