Rambukwella 12 sets up Tamil Union win
Rumesh Buddika hit an unbeaten 239 and Ramith Rambukwella took 12 wickets in Tamil Union's innings-and-45-run victory over Moors Sports Club. While Tamil Union do not appear to be title contenders, with two matches to play, the loss dents Moors' championship aspirations. They sit second on the table after suffering their second Super Eights loss.
Offspinner Rambukwella carved through the lower order in the first innings, after Tamil Union's seamers had set Moors back significantly in the first two overs, which brought three wickets. Oshada Fernando hit 79 and Chaturanga de Silva hit a half-century, but thanks largely to Rambukwella's spell, Moors lost their last six wickets for 58. They finished on 215.
Moors may have harboured some hope of earning first-innings points when they had Tamil Union at 132 for 4, but a 129-run partnership between Buddika and Kithuruwan Vithanage pushed Tamil Union well beyond their opponents score. Vithanege made 68 from 72, and Buddhika would also make century-stands with Denuwan Rajakaruna and Rambukwella, who both hit fifties. Tamil Union finished on 521 early on day three.
Facing a deficit of 306, Moors could only hold out for 58.3 overs, as Rambukwella gutted their lineup. Each of the top eight batsmen fell to Rambukwella, who took innings figures of 102 for 8. He had taken three wickets in the 48th over.
Sri Lanka Army's 10-wicket win over Ragama Cricket Club bore an odd resemblance to the Tamil Union v Moors match, as Manjula de Zoysa's 204 and left-arm spinner Ravindra Palleguruge's 12 wickets - eight of which came in the second innings - drove the result. Like Rambukwella, Palleguruge also hit a first-innings fifty.
Ragama made 290 in the first innings as right-arm seamer Nuwan Liyanapathirana took a five-wicket haul, while Palleguruge pitched in with four scalps. Army's reply was set up by the 106-run second-wicket stand between de Zoysa and Mohammad Feshal, who hit 65. Asela Gunaratne and Lakshan Edirisinghe also joined de Zoysa for hundred partnerships - the latter hitting 71. Palleguruge's 58 from no. 9 lifted Army to 508. Offspinner Alankara Silva took five wickets.
Ragama only had to bat out the final day to save the match, but only one batsman - Sameera de Zoysa - could last more than 100 balls. Palleguruge bowled 30 overs for his 8 for 92. Army's openers chased 31 without incident to complete the victory.
Jehan Mubarak's rich first-class season rolled on for Nondescripts Cricket Club, as he struck an impactful 173 not out in the second innings to pull his team to a two-wicket victory over Ports Authority Cricket Club. Fresh from Asia Cup duty, Ashan Priyanjan's 124 from 131 balls in the second innings helped set up a target of 279 for NCC, but NCC regrouped on the final day to seal the result.
Seam-bowler Dushmantha Chameera took five wickets for NCC as Ports Authority succumbed to 204 in 76 overs. Priyanjan was their top-scorer in the first innings as well, hitting 54 from 62 before his team lost their last seven wickets for 67. NCC managed a 61-run first-innings lead, thanks largely to Angelo Perera's 106-ball 97. He too was the only batsman to cross fifty in the first innings for his team, though he received some support from Tharindu Kaushal, who remained not out on 43.
The Ports Authority batsmen supported Priyanjan better in the second innings, with Gayan Maneeshan even joining him for a 131-run sixth-wicket stand, hitting 53 of those runs himself. Chameera took four more wickets while Kaushal bowled 27 overs, taking three wickets - including that of Priyanjan - for 156.
Ports Authority had the opposition at 3 for 21 on the third evening, but Mubarak corrected their course all by himself. No other batsman would even cross 25 in the innings, as he hit 21 fours and four sixes in his single-handed effort. Having hit 67% of the team's runs in the chase, Mubarak took his team home in Chameera's company. NCC top the Super Eights table.
Sinhalese Sports Club also eked out a two-wicket win, despite hundreds from Colombo Cricket Club's Chamara Silva and Sameen Kandanearachchi. Kaushal Silva hit a half-century in each innings and fast bowler Dhammika Prasad took six wickets in the match.
CCC hit 250 in the first innings thanks largely to Silva's 101 from 155 balls, but although SSC did not have a centurion, they established a 135-run first-innings lead. There were three half-centuries in addition to Silva's 63. Captain Tharanga Paranavitana hit 88, Thilina Kandamby hit 58 and no. 10 Upul Bandara hit 53, putting on a 45-run last-wicket stand in which his partner only made 2.
Kandanearachchi's 100 off 112 balls, helped wipe the deficit, but although each of the top nine batsmen got starts, only Chathuranga Kumara would go on to cross 50. CCC's 361 set SSC 227 runs to win, on the final day.
SSC lost three top-order wickets for 13 runs in the chase, but Thilina Kandamby and Chamara Kapugedara came together at 123 for 4 to energise the innings. Another collapse with the win in sight brought CCC roaring back into the game, but Bandara took charge when SSC needed 16 to win with two wickets remaining. His run-a-ball 21 secured SSC's second win in the Super Eights.
Panadura Sports Club appears most likely to play the relegation match against the top team from the Emerging tournament. Their 46-run loss to Air Force Sports Club leaves them almost 10 points behind the next team, with only a match against table-toppers Colts Cricket Club to play.
Suraj Randiv's impressive season continued as he took a five-wicket haul Bloomfield Cricket Club's draw against Colts. Chilaw Marians' match against Badureliya Sports Club was also a high-scoring draw, with Kanchana Gunawardene and Sahan Wijeratne hitting hundreds for Marians, and Andy Solomons scoring a century for Badureliya.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here