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Andrew Fernando in Colombo
August 1, 2012
Angelo Mathews, the Nagenahira Nagas captain, believed his side had a winning total in the SLPL final which they could have defended had weather not intervened to cut the second innings short, and make Uva Next champions via the Duckworth/Lewis method. Mathews' dazzling 73 from 27 balls took Nagenahira to 134 for 4 from their 15 overs after his side had spluttered to 47 for 3 from 9 overs, following a first rain delay that shortened the game. Uva then hurtled to 63 for 1 from 5.1 overs, before a second heavy downpour stopped play and the D/L calculation deemed them victors by 19 runs.
"Getting to  after losing a few wickets early on and being 40-odd after nine overs, it was a great effort by the whole batting unit," Mathews said. "In the remaining six overs, we got the maximum number of runs you could hope for. The wicket was pretty slow, so  was a very good score, but unfortunately the rain gods had their say and that was that."
Uva opener Dilshan Munaweera blasted 44 from 23 balls to propel his side beyond the D/L par score. He struck five sixes and two fours in his innings, and with a promoted Seekkuge Prasanna also contributing two sixes, Uva hit a six in each over they faced.
"The way Uva batted when they came out, they had nothing to lose, so they went for their shots and batted well."
The match may not have been completed had the two captains not agreed to continue playing on a sodden outfield. Three days of heavy rain had left parts of the ground muddy and the downpour that interrupted Nagenahira's innings made those areas more slippery. Uva captain Thilina Kandamby commended Mathews on his willingness to play on, but Mathews said it was not a difficult decision to make, given they were playing in front of around 30,000 fans - by far the biggest crowd of the tournament.
"I thought it [outfield] was pretty good apart from the boundary line. We couldn't disappoint the crowds as well because it was a huge turnout today. After all it became and exciting game." Mathews also said despite the poor result in the final, he was proud of his side's performance in the SLPL, particularly as they did not have the star players other teams had secured in the draft.
"We never had big names, it's just that we gelled quite well and we enjoyed each other's company and success. I thought the team spirit was wonderful. Each time we walked into a game we just wanted to win and the whole unit was unbelievable."
Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri LankaFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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