Moors tie with Tamil Union on rain-hit opening day
Heavy afternoon rains threatened to ruin the first day of the 2013/14 domestic cricket season, but results were possible in all but one of the six Premier Limited Overs matches, in Colombo.
Moors Sports Club tied with Tamil Union via the Duckworth-Lewis method in their series opener, after having hit 170 for 7 in their 30 allocated overs. Moors' No. 3 Oshada Fernando was the top run-scorer in the match, hitting 75 from 86 to assist his side's recovery, following the early departure of both openers.
The Tamil Union bowling figures perhaps suggested why Suranga Lakmal has been picked in Sri Lanka's limited overs squad to the UAE over Shaminda Eranga. Lakmal took 2 for 31 from his 6 overs, but Eranga conceded more than ten runs an over, though he did claim a wicket. Rangana Herath was the most economical bowler, going at 2.33 runs in his six, while Ramith Rambukwella took two wickets.
In his first List A match for Tamil Union, 20-year-old opener Pabasara Waduge struck 37 from 38 to set the chase off with promise, but despite his brisk 68-run partnership with Tillakaratne Dilshan, Moors' offspinner removed both openers in the 12th over and sparked a stutter.
When the rains came to wipe out play, Tamil Union were six wickets down, needing 33 to win from the last 28 deliveries.
Ragama Cricket Club wiped out Colombo Cricket Club in under 26 overs, to secure a 113-run victory at the Premadasa Stadium, before the afternoon rains arrived. Ragama hit 207 for 4 in their 43 overs, thanks to a string of solid contributions from the top order - most from Lahiru Thirimanne, who top-scored with 54.
Ragama's opening seamers Lahiru Jayaratne and Nilanka Premaratne then ran through the CCC innings, sharing nine wickets for just 44 runs between them. They had CCC at 26 for 6 by the seventh over, and only one CCC batsman crossed 20, as they were bundled out for a paltry 94.
Colts Cricket Club mowed down Badureliya Sports Club by seven wickets- the most emphatic victory of the opening round. Having been asked to bat at the Colts ground, Badureliya succumbed for 81 in 30.3 overs, with only two of their batsmen limping into double figures.
Thisara Perera opened the bowling for Colts and took three wickets in his first four overs, to herald the collapse. He finished with figures of 3 for 15, and offspinner Dilruwan Perera also took three wickets later in the innings.
Kusal Perera made his customary flying start in response hitting 41 from 38 balls, but both he and Thisara Perera had perished by the time the winning runs were scored, with almost 37 overs remaining in the innings.
Centuries from 20-year-old opener Niroshan Dickwella and Kumar Sangakkara set up an 84-run Duckworth-Lewis win for Nondescripts Cricket Club over Bloomfield, a week after NCC had celebrated its 125th anniversary. Dickwella struck 13 fours and a six in his run-a-ball 133, and his 195-run second-wicket stand with Sangakkara effectively took the match away from the opposition. Sangakkara hit 102 in 92 balls, suggesting his extraordinary limited-overs form shows no signs of abating.
NCC made 315 from their 50 overs, and although Dilshan Munaweera's belligerent 62 at the top of the innings provided a brief spark, Bloomfield failed to build partnerships in the middle overs, as left-arm spinner Sohan Boralessa and offspinner Tharindu Kaushal shared 5 wickets between them. When rain stopped play, Bloomfield were 178 for 7 in 37.3 overs.
Panadura Sports Club provided another batting catastrophe in their season-opener against Army Sports Club, who waltzed to an eight-wicket victory, at Army's Panagoda ground. Panadura negotiated opening spells from the seam-bowlers, but Army's three spinners arrived to wreak havoc early in the innings, and they collapsed for 60 in 22.4 overs.
Ajantha Mendis was omitted in favour of legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna for Sri Lanka's ODI squad against Pakistan, but Mendis had the better outing against Panadura, taking 3 for 14, while Prasanna claimed 2 for 14. Left-arm spinner Ravindra Palleguruge made the most dramatic impact on the match however, wiping out the lower order in 2.2 overs- a spell in which he claimed four wickets and conceded no runs. Army ran the total down in 14.2 overs.
The only no-result of the round was played out between Sinhalese Sports Club and Ports Authority Cricket Club. Thilina Kandamby's 49-ball, unbeaten 73 propelled SSC to 167 from their 26 overs, after a wet outfield had already slashed 24 overs from each innings.
Ashan Priyanjan's 66 from 42 led Ports Authority's chase, and they needed 51 from 46 deliveries, and had six wickets in hand, when the rains came. Not enough overs had been bowled in the second innings for a winner to be decided.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here