Chilaw Marians deny Army SC
Only two teams managed wins in the second-round Tier A matches of the Premier League Tournament. Ragama Cricket Club and Chilaw Marians Cricket Club were the two victorious sides in a weekend where most games were affected by rain.
At the Moors Sports Club Ground, Ragama CC thrashed Badureliya Sports Club by an innings-and-37-runs. Badureliya SC, who began the new season by comprehensively beating favourites Nondescripts CC, were shot out for 54 and 194 by Ragama CC, who made 285 in their only innings. The wreckers-in-chief were the fast bowlers, Saliya Saman and Dharshana Gamage, who also starred in the first innings, and Sri Lanka allrounder Kaushalya Weeraratne took six in the second.
Sri Lanka Army Sports Club, the newcomers to Tier A this year, muffed their chance of making a winning start. In a thrilling contest, Army SC, without the services of Ajantha Mendis, dismissed Chilaw Marians for 217 to take 12-run lead on the first innings. Their batting, though, fell apart in the second innings. The pace and spin combination of Gayan Wijekoon (6 for 23) and Dinuka Hettiarachchi (match-haul of 10 for 72) bundled out Army SC for 57, leaving their team with 70 to win. The batsmen nearly made a mess of their chase - they were reduced to 50 for 9 - but the last-wicket pair steered them to victory. Seekkuge Prasanna, who formed a lethal spin pairing with Mendis in Army's Tier B success last season, almost single-handedly took them to victory with nine wickets in the match.
Defending champions Sinhalese Sports Club once again had to be content with a draw. Sinhalese SC had Colts Cricket Club following on, but interruptions caused by rain and bad light thwarted their push for a win. Left-arm fast bowler Nuwan Zoysa starred with an all-round performance, top-scoring with 67 in Sinhalese SC's 378 before taking 5 for 22 as Colts CC were bowled out for 164. The visitors finished the game at 197 for 4.
Tillakaratne Dilshan, who was dropped for Sri Lanka's Zimbabwe tour, scored 112 as Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club raced to the highest total of the season against Tamil Union Cricket. In a weather-curtailed game at the P Saravanamuttu Stadium, Bloomfield made 573 in reply to Tamil Union's 299. Tamil Union were put in on bowler-friendly conditions, and lost 6 for 102 before lunch on the first day. But Gihan Rupasinghe rescued them with an unbeaten 174-ball 154. Bloomfield then exploited relatively easier batting conditions to secure the first-innings lead.
At the Colombo Cricket Club Ground, Nondescripts Cricket Club's ninth-wicket pair of Tharaka Kottehewa (62 not out) and Kosala Kulasekera (83) ensured they took the honours in the drawn game against Colombo Cricket Club. The duo helped Nondescripts CC recover from 104 for 8 to 254.
In Tier B, Sri Lanka Air Force Sports Club and Seeduwa Raddoluwa Cricket Club beat the weather to score wins over Burgher Recreation Club and Moratuwa Sports Club. Air Force SC allrounder Suwanji Madanayake's double of 86 runs and 12 for 70 proved too much for Burgher RC, who succumbed to an innings-and-72-run defeat at Riffle Green. Madanayake's legbreaks proved unplayable - his 7 for 15 saw Burgher RC dismissed for 45 and he added five more in the second.
Seeduwa Raddoluwa CC got their second win in as many games. In a low-scoring match played at De Soysa Stadium, they beat Moratuwa SC by 47 runs. In another game, Saracens Sports Club's 20-year-old left-hander Geeth Alwis scored his maiden first-class hundred (144) against Sebastianites Cricket and Athletic Club in a drawn contest.
Player of the Week - Gihan Rupasinghe
One of the finest all-round cricketers to emerge from the schools in recent times, Gihan Rupasinghe displayed his potential as a batsman when he scored a career-best 154 not out off 174 balls to lift Tamil Union from a desperate 115 for 7 to a respectable 299 against Bloomfield last weekend. Batting at No. 7, Rupasinghe had only the tail to partner him but he farmed the strike effectively as the last three wickets added 184 runs. Rupasinghe's heroics exhibited his fighting qualities.
"He is an attacking batsman who likes to go for his shots, but hates to get bogged down," was Tamil Union coach Brendon Kuruppu's assessment. Rupasinghe, also a legspinner, had a splendid stint at Nalanda College - he was team captain and was chosen Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year in 2006. He impressed in the Sri Lanka Cricket Under-23 tournament last season. He won the Player of the Tournament, taking 43 wickets at 13.20 and 297 runs at 42.42 for Tamil Union.
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