Basnahira North limp to consolation win
Basnahira South, Wayamba, Kandurata and Ruhuna have qualified for the semi-finals of the Inter-Provincial Twenty20 tournament following the completion of the round robin stage of matches on Tuesday.
Basnahira South came through the initial round unscathed winning five games on the trot to finish on top of the pile with 21 points. They will meet third-placed Kandurata in one semi-final at the SSC on Saturday. The second semi-final will be contested between second-placed Wayamba and fourth-placed Ruhuna also at the same venue. The final is scheduled for Sunday at the SSC.
Basnahira South prevailed by four wickets over Ruhuna in a high-scoring encounter at the SSC. Basnahira South reached a challenging target of 159 with eight balls to spare, thanks largely to Chamara Silva's entertaining knock of 44 not out off 31 balls which included four fours and a six. Silva was well supported by Dilruwan Perera who hit 32 in 29 balls (4 fours, 1 six) and Hasantha Fernando (24).
Earlier, Ruhuna made 158 for 9 after struggling from 87 for 5 with in-form batsman Indika de Saram, Sajeewa Weerakoon, Ashan Priyanjan, and Saman Jayantha making useful contributions. Basnahira South's opening bowlers Suranga Lakmal and Chinthaka Perera took two wickets each.
An economical spell of bowling (2 for 14) and a knock of 30 off 24 balls by Wayamba allrounder Jeevantha Kulatunga helped his side beat Kandurata by six wickets in a low-scoring game at the SSC. Kandurata suffered an early setback when opener Tharanga Paranavithana and captain Kumar Sangakkara were sent back by Farveez Maharoof in the very first over without scoring. They never recovered from that slump and were bundled out for a mere 78, with Wayamba bowlers Isuru Udana (3 for 6) and Kulatunga piling on the pressure.
Suresh Perera, who top scored with an unbeaten 25, ran out of partners. Wayamba made short work of their run chase thanks to Kulatunga's flying start, scoring 20 off the first couple of overs. After his dismissal for 30 (4 fours, 1 six), the Wayamba run-rate slowed down, but they eventually reached their target with five overs to spare.
Basnahira North recorded a hard-fought consolation win by two wickets against Schools Invitational XI at the P Sara Oval. After electing to bat first they managed only 125 with Dinesh Chandimal playing a captain's knock of 45 off 28 balls and his innings included five fours and two sixes. After a sound start, they suffered a middle-order collapse caused by the offspinner Muthumudalige Pushpakumara (4 for 20) and slid to 81 for 5. In their chase, Basnahira North lost wickets at regular intervals and had to work hard towards achieving their win. Angelo Mathews top scored with 25 but departed at 96 for 7, leaving Saliya Saman (17*) and Nuwan Kulasekara (11*) to see them home with four balls to spare.