Ruhuna open account with big win
Ruhuna Royals 145 for 3 (Finch 65, Rupasinghe 50) beat Uthura Rudras 118 (Maharoof 32, Malinga 4-21) by 35 runs by D/L Method
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
For the third consecutive night in the SLPL, a brutal opening stand was the bedrock of a comfortable win as fifties to Aaron Finch and Gihan Rupasinghe helped Ruhuna Royals crush Uthura Rudras by 35 runs in a rain-curtailed 16-overs-a-side encounter. Finch made 65 and Rupasinghe 50 as the pair struck 11 fours and four sixes between them. Lasith Malinga's 4 for 21 then ensured Uthura never looked like chasing down the revised target of 154 at any stage.
Finch attacked from the outset, clobbering a straight four from the first ball of the innings, before launching a six two balls later in the same area. Rupasinghe was slower to the charge, but his was no less savage when it began. A four over extra cover and a six over midwicket heralded a slew of boundaries either side of the wicket, and though his innings could have been ended on 26 had Farveez Maharoof held a straightforward chance at short fine leg, he continued to make merry, reaching his-half century in 34 balls, before being undone by a surprise bouncer from spinner Jehan Mubarak. At his fall, Ruhuna were well-set for a big total, at 97 for 1 from 10.5 overs.
Finch switched to consolidation mode after the wicket, passing 50 in 37 balls, with a busy Chamara Silva for company before the rains came. The delay shortened the game by four overs, and while Finch and Silva fell attempting to accelerate in the 16th over, Ruhuna had not lost too many wickets to prevent a favourable Duckworth-Lewis revision to their score of 145 for 3.
Malinga's two early strikes removed Uthura's most dangerous batsmen in Imran Farhat and Brendan Taylor to escalate their task from difficult to near impossible. Two more wickets fell in quick succession to lengthen their odds further, and though Farveez Maharoof blasted a valiant 17-ball 32, his team-mates' pedestrian progress prevented Uthura from asserting any sort of pressure on the opposition. Malinga returned to take two more scalps toward the end of the match, capping off a dominant night for one of the competition's favourites.
Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri Lanka