Uthura v Basnahira, SLPL 2012, Pallekele August 21, 2012

Kapugedera gem downs Basnahira

Uthura Rudras 156 for 6 (Kapugedera 69*, Farhat 26) beat Basnahira Cricket Dundee 150 for 6 (Rossouw 44, Ekanayake 2-35) by four wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A stunning 69 from Chamara Kapugedara propelled Uthura Rudras to a compelling first victory, as they overhauled Basnahira Cricket Dundee's score of 150 with four wickets and four balls remaining. The chase seemed kaput when Dillon du Preez walked to the crease at 86 for 6 in 13.4 overs but he helped keep the Rudras' heads above the rising run rate, until Kapugedara launched the winning offensive. Rudras' win means the bottom four teams of the competition are all still statistical possibilities for a semi-final berth.

Kapugedara has been one of the mighty disappointments for Sri Lanka on the international stage, having impressed and been selected for Sri Lanka at a young age, but never having translated talent into results. At the domestic level though, innings like Tuesday's will make him difficult for the selectors to ignore for the World Twenty20. He had ambled to 21 from 22 balls, perhaps because of the clutter of wickets at the other end that left the Rudras with 64 to win from 6 overs and only four wickets in hand. But in the company of du Preez, Kapugedara built quickly to the deluge of boundaries that would win the match. The pair scrambled ones and twos in the 15th over, before Kapugedara smote a four from the 16thand a six over midwicket in the 17th. Still, with 37 required from the last three overs, victory was still a distance away for the Rudras.

The surge to the finish came in the next eight balls. Du Preez crashed a four over extra cover, before giving the strike to Kapugedara, who whittled down a daunting demand to a simple saunter to victory in three mighty blows. The first six off Dammika Prasad flew high and straight. Thilan Thushara then missed his length in the first ball of the penultimate over and Kapugedara blasted it over cover. The charging six over midwicket to bring the rate down to a run a ball was filled with the kind of audacity he has rarely shown at the top level. If he is selected for the World Twenty20 squad, perhaps Kapugedara should take further confidence in the fact that both the bowlers he mauled to turn the game have played for Sri Lanka. The final six to win the game, with one run required off five, was almost obnoxious.

Despite their poor overall record at the tournament, the Rudras' bowling has largely been encouraging. Muttiah Muralitharan has missed the last two matches due to a family wedding in India, but as in the loss to Uva Next on Sunday, the young attack performed creditably in his absence. Madushanka Ekanayake recovered from a poor first over to remove Tillakaratne Dilshan, just as the batsman had greased his innings into motion with a scooped six. Chathuranga Peiris turned in four tight overs of his own, while du Preez was the most economical of the group, going at only 4.25 an over.

Thushara, Rangana Herath and Prasad had bowled well to get their side into a winning position, but Cricket Dundee could not resist the Kapugedara onslaught that now sees them fighting to stay alive in a tournament they had been one of the favourites to win.

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri Lanka

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