Uva v Nagenahira, SLPL, Colombo August 27, 2012

Mathews sees Nagenahira home in exciting finish

Nagenahira Nagas 163 for 4 (Nazir 44, Mathews 43*) beat Uva Next 160 for 7 (Munaweera 45, Kandamby 33) by six wickets

Nagenahira Nagas returned to the blueprint that devised their first three victories, as a belligerent innings at the top of the order and a clinical finish from Angelo Mathews backed up a strong bowling performance led by Shaminda Eranga. The Nagas' six-wicket win over Uva Next ensures they avoid top-placed Wayamba United in the first semi-final tomorrow, a task Uva Next must now face, perhaps without wicketkeeper Upul Tharanga and allrounder Andrew McDonald, who both left the field through injury.

Imran Nazir took flight for the Nagas in the chase, as he walloped eight fours and a six in his 25-ball 44. Nazir was typically powerful square of the wicket, punching Oram over cover to get the Nagas' chase into gear, before hitting a spate of square boundaries in the last three overs of the Powerplay. He was stumped advancing to Sachithra Senanayake in the eighth over, but Mathews, his replacement, ensured the chase stayed on track, first by collecting risk-free runs into the outfield, before hastening toward the target as the close approached. He was unbeaten on 43 from 33 balls when he hit the winning runs with five balls remaining.

Dilshan Munaweera contributed his highest score of the tournament for Uva Next, but sacrificed muscle-power for longevity, striking at a relatively steady 129 for his 45. The Uva top order was restrained by tight overs from Eranga and Mathews at the top of the innings, though Kanishka Alvitigala, who also took the new ball, could not boast their parsimony. Munaweera launched three sixes and two aerial fours, but struggled to pierce the infield for ones and twos until the field spread. He departed just as he'd looked set to launch when he miscued a scoop to short fine leg, but the selectors who have chosen him for Sri Lanka's World Twenty20 squad will be encouraged by an innings of more application than he has shown so far in the tournament, though they will look to him to better ally that attitude with his striking power on the international stage.

Thilina Kandamby also made 33 for Uva Next, but three run-outs and a strong collective bowling effort from the Nagas ensured the target remained manageable on one of the flattest tracks the SLPL has seen.

Eranga resumed the intensity that had brought him success at the beginning of the tournament, in four one-over spells that reaped two wickets and only conceded 25. He troubled batsman with sharp seam movement throughout the innings, and found the yorker length he had been missing in the last two matches, even uprooting Hammad Azam's leg stump in the 20th over.

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri Lanka

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RAHUL on August 28, 2012, 19:48 GMT

    Where was Mushfiqur...? That's sad to not see Mushfi he was a matchwinner for one of the games that Nagenhira Nagas played....

  • amasha on August 28, 2012, 16:05 GMT

    awsm nagas!!i hope wayaba and nagas cm 2 da finals!!mathews is proving tht he can lead a decent team.congratz!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on August 28, 2012, 11:17 GMT

    anjelo perera should be given to bat @no 5 .....

  • Dummy4 on August 28, 2012, 7:32 GMT

    mathews played very well and imran nazir too played his role. this would give him some practise before t20 world cup

  • Dummy4 on August 28, 2012, 5:09 GMT

    We are miss Mushfiqur Rahim. we are hope next match rahim will play. because we are bangoli fan supporting N.nagas for rahim is played

  • Dummy4 on August 27, 2012, 20:01 GMT

    great win for nagas... i guess thy would come till the finals, mathews the captain cool

  • Dummy4 on August 27, 2012, 20:00 GMT

    mathews finished it in style , so hope my 2 favourite teams will play the final WAYAMBA V N.NAGAS best of luck for SLPL last 3 matches

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