Nondescripts take title despite rain-hit draw
Moors Cricket Club and Colombo Cricket Club won their final league matches, but that wasn't enough to prevent Nondescripts Cricket Club from taking their first title since 2001 after a rain-affected draw against heavyweights Sinhalese Sports Club.
After being put in, SSC made 288, thanks to a hundred from opener Kaushal Silva and a half-century from the experienced Thilina Kandamby. Offspinner Tharindu Kaushal, NCC's most successful bowler of the season, was the best bowler of their innings as well, grabbing 4 for 104.
A full day's play was possible only on the first day. Over the next two days, only about 80 overs of cricket was played, and Nondescripts were never in trouble as their openers put on 170 at exactly a run-a-ball. Niroshan Dickwella missed out on a century, falling on 87, but the other opener, Upul Tharanga, made 168 and the No. 3 Pawan Wickramasinghe hit a hundred as well.
By the time Jehan Mubarak, the only batsman to top 1000 runs in the tournament, walked in to bat, it was already the final day with Nondescripts well ahead at 376 for 2. There were less than 15 overs of play on the fourth day, after which Nondescripts were confirmed champions.
Shehan Jayasuriya and Malinda Pushpakumara orchestrated a spectacular batting collapse - leaving the side at 20 for 5 - as Ragama Cricket Club were routed by Moors Sports Club, three runs short of a win.
Chasing a target of 120 runs, Ragama had lost half the side for 20 runs. Kaushalya Weeraratne then dug deep to scare Moors, scavenging crucial stands with the tail, like a fluent 34 off 40 for the seventh wicket, which raised hopes of a jailbreak. Weeraratne's composed 55 off 82 balls took Moors within 18 runs of victory before Jayasuriya dismissed the half-centurion and willed his team into the ascendancy. An unlikely Ragama win was still on the cards, however, until Jayasuriya claimed his fifth to seal the game.
Pushpakumara had earlier taken 5 for 89 to limit Ragama to 318 in the first innings and keep lead to 50. Ian Daniel and Sameera de Zoysa struck fifties and Weeraratne marshalled the tail with his 47 off 90 balls, to push the total past 300. The lower order contributed 98 runs and the new-ball bowlers, Alankara Silva and Sanjeewa Weerakun, stifled the Moors to 169 all out.
Janaka Gunaratne, though, refused to buckle under the pressure of a scorecard that read 7 for 3, and he struck 71 off 68, including 10 fours and a six. Kaushalya Gajasinghe, his partner in a stand of 91 for the fifth wicket, made 54 as well.
Moors' had a more sound first innings, and Gajasinghe was the top contributor with 80 off 172 balls. Gunaratne played the supporting role during a 94-run partnership for the fifth wicket. Weerakoon was the best bowler with 4 for 76, while Malinga Bandara chipped in with three wickets.
A first-innings century by Chamara Silva and a nine-wicket haul by Lakshan Rangika were the bedrock of
Putting Ports Authority in, CCC's Rangika led the bowling with his fourth first-class five-for that restricted the opposition to 269. In response, CCC lost three early wickets, but Silva's 29th first-class century helped them garner an 87-run lead. Ports Authority erased the lead with eight wickets in hand, but none of the batsmen lasted long enough stretch the score. They were bowled out for 245, setting CCC a target of 159, which they chased down within a remarkable 17 overs.
Ravindra Palleguruge's match haul of 9 for 198 and Pabasara Waduge's third first-class ton were the standout performances in a draw between Sri Lanka Army Sports Club and Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club.
Palleguruge took 6 for 105 to slice through the Tamil Union batting line-up order and leave them at 148 for 8. A rearguard, Denuwan Rajakaruna (88) and Chanaka Welegedara (33), who added 123 runs for the ninth wicket to lift the side to a competitive 276.
Sri Lanka Army, however, floundered in their first innings against the left-arm spin of Chamikara Edirisinghe, who took a maiden five-for in first-class games. His 6 for 66 was instrumental in keeping Sri Lanka Army to 226, despite a 58 from opener Mohammad Feshal.
Waduge slammed nine fours and three sixes en route to his third first-class hundred and that helped Tamil Union declare at 293 with an overall lead of 343. Sri Lanka Army finished at 100 for 2 when the match was called off.