Uthura v Uva, SLPL, Pallekele August 19, 2012

Uthura crash to fourth straight loss

Uva Next 126 for 6 (Munaweera 36, Peiris 2-24) beat Uthura Rudras 124 for 8 (Gunaratne 30*, Senanayake 3-16) by four wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Uthura Rudras could not recover from early setbacks and four consecutive maidens at the start of their innings, as Uva Next chased down a mediocre target with four wickets and five balls to spare. Sachithra Senanayake took three wickets for 16 after Jacob Oram and Umar Gul had gagged the top order with the new ball, and though a late surge took the Rudras towards respectability, their total was never likely to be a winning one, even if they did cause a stutter in the chase towards the finish.

The Rudras were effectively derailed inside the first ten minutes of the match, as they batted out four excruciating maidens, during which they lost both openers. Imran Farhat allowed Umar Gul to zip through his defences in the second over, before Brendan Taylor ran himself out in his haste to get himself and the team under way.

Oram extracted considerable movement with his back-of-a-length seamers, but he was by no means as unplayable in his first spell as figures of 3-2-2-0 suggested. Gul was menacing too, as his good length deliveries routinely nipped back towards the stumps. After three consecutive losses, the Rudras batsmen seemed entirely sapped of the courage to defy good bowling. Even the first runs, when they eventually came, were off a dropped chance at slip. Had Thilina Kandamby not attempted to intercept Jehan Mubarak's edge, which was heading straight to first slip, the Rudras could have been 0 for 3 in the fifth over.

The Rudras recovered steadily from the disastrous start, but never threatened a challenging total. Mubarak made a cautious 28 as two more wickets tumbled at the other end, before Chamara Kapugedara added a touch more substance to the total with a 15-ball 20 during the middle overs. The Rudras were in danger of being dismissed for less than 100 when Farveez Maharoof fell in the 18th over to leave his side 92 for 7, but a belligerent 30 from Janaka Gunaratne lifted them beyond 120.

In reply, Dilshan Munaweera set off quickly, blasting six fours and a giant six over midwicket in his 36 and along with Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who made 20, laid the foundation to what should have been a straightforward chase. Uthura, however, fought back. Madhushanka Ekanayake sent down four miserly overs of seam for 13, before Chathura Peiris followed suit, picking up two wickets for 24 from his full quota. Uva Next batted themselves into a crisis, by losing 5 wickets for 33 in the middle overs, but Shoaib Malik eventually guided the chase home alongside Senanayake, who ended the match with a six off the first ball of the last over.

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri Lanka

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