Kulatunga steers Wayamba into semi-final
Jeevantha Kulatunga scored the first century of the Inter-provincial Twenty20 tournament to power two-time winners Wayamba to the semi-finals with a 27-run win over Kandurata in the final round-robin match played at the Galle International Stadium.
Kulatunga's 62-ball century helped the defending champions run up an impressive 181 and maintain their 100 percent record in the qualifying round. It was their fifth win in as many matches and it ensured they finished top of the standings with a nine-point advantage over their nearest rivals Ruhuna, who had 12 points.
The previous highest score in the competition was 94, scored off 43 balls, by Indika de Saram for Ruhuna against Basnahira North in 2008-09.
Despite the absence of their captain Kumar Sangakkara, who opted out of this match, Kandurata put up a brave display, replying with 154 and forcing Wayamba captain Jehan Mubarak to use as many as nine bowlers to contain the batting.
In the other matches Basnahira South scraped through to the last four with a thrilling seven-run win over Ruhuna, while Basnahira North beat SLC Combined XI in a game which eventually had no bearing on the final round-robin standings.
Basnahira South were lucky to qualify for a place in the semi-finals after being awarded two points in their match against Kandurata played on February 25 in Pallakelle which ended in bizarre circumstances.
Basnahira South, chasing Kandurata's score of 163-9, replied with 166-7 and claimed victory by three wickets. However, Kandurata lodged a protest that an additional four runs had been credited to Basnahira South by the official scorers during the 17th over and claimed they were the winners by two runs.
With both teams claiming victory, the result of the match was suspended. A video recording of the match showed there were no additional four runs scored during the 17th over and that the scorers had blundered. An inquiry was held by the tournament committee and, based on their findings, the Interim Committee decided to split the points and award it to the two teams as both had an opportunity to win the match.
The semi-final line-up for Saturday (March 6) is Wayamba v Basnahira South and Ruhuna v Kandurata. Both matches will be played at De Soysa Stadium, Moratuwa, with the final scheduled for Sunday (March 7).