Kottehewa stars with double hat-trick
Premier Limited Over Tournament
Defending champions NCC, struggling to qualify for the next round, were indebted to Tharaka Kottehewa for bringing them two welcome victories which lifted them to third position in the Tier A table behind Blooomfield and Colts. Kottehwea, 22, took five wickets to rout Colombo CC for 102 at Colombo Cricket Club; his first three victims were lbw.
But Kottehewa reserved his most remarkable bowling performance for Sunday, when he became perhaps the first bowler in the history of limited overs cricket to perform a double hat-trick in one match at Moors Sports Club. After Ragama CC had restricted NCC to 200, they were shot out for 92 with Kottehewa dismissing Vithana at the end of the 23rd over and then picking up the next two (de Zoysa and Weeraratne) off the first two balls of the 25th over as Ragama slid from 85 for 3 to 87 for 6. An over later Kottehewa returned to clean up the tail, adding the wickets of Perera, Indrasiri and Gamage off successive deliveries in the 29th over to complete his stunning double hat-trick. He finished with a career-best 8 for 20 off 9.4 overs. Helping Kottehewa in his unique feat was Riki Wessels, who took over the glove work for the match and held three catches.
Bloomfield, the tournament pace-setters, had mixed fortunes when they bounced back from last weekend's defeat by handing out a 134-run thrashing of Badureliya CC at the Athletic Club Ground only to suffer a ten-wicket thrashing at the hands of SSC the following day. Outstanding for Bloomfield in their win was Suminda Mendis, the Matara-born wicketkeeper, who snared five victims to help bowl his former club out for 122. Former Sri Lanka left-arm fast bowler Thilan Thushara ran through the Bloomfield batting taking 5 for 20 to rout them for 120 the next day. The target was reached with the minimum of fuss with SSC needing only 15 overs. Captain Avishka Gunawardene plundered 77 off 47 balls.
Nuwan Zoysa, the former Sri Lanka left-arm quick bowler, kept SSC in the hunt for a semi-final place when he produced a spell of 6 for 14 off 10 overs as second placed Colts were routed for 68 at the CCC ground. Then Zoysa opened the batting and contributed an unbeaten 22 off 28 balls as SSC scored the runs in 12 overs.
The former Colts captain Sajith Fernando anchored Tamil Union with a century off 115 balls in their exciting five-run win over Badureliya CC at the P Sara stadium. The match was decided on the Duckworth-Lewis method after rain had reduced the target to 232 from 47 overs.
Lankan CC continued their unbeaten in Tier B by securing their seventh win in as many matches against the Sri Lanka Air Force Sports Club at Riffle Green leaving Army, BRC, Panadura, Police and Saracens to fight it out for the remaining three places.
Player of the week - Tharka Kottehewa
Tharka Kottehewa fulfilled his potential last season with a brilliant all-round performance for NCC guiding them to victory over Moors SC to win the Premier limited-overs final. He took 5 for 48 and hit an unbeaten 35 to earn the Man-of-the-Match award. A product of Royal College, one of the leading institutions in the country, Kottehewa joined NCC at a very young age and made his first-class debut for the club at 17, even before he represented his country in the Under-19 side. However to date he has played only eight first-class matches taking 10 wickets. His performances in the shorter version are more impressive, the 8 for 20 standing out as his most outstanding bowling achievement in a budding career.
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