Spinners set up narrow win for Kandurata
Kandurata Maroons 124 for 8 (Siriwardana 24*) beat Basnahira Greens 122 for 8 (Vithanage 37*, Jayasuriya 3-7) by two runs
An eleventh-hour surge put Basnahira Greens in touching distance of victory, but ultimately Kandurata Maroons' 124 for 8 proved just enough on a used Premadasa pitch that has steadily deteriorated. As has been the case during the tournament so far, the chasing side could not secure a situation of dominance throughout the innings, and for Basnahira, it was the five wickets they lost between the 9th and the 14th over that sealed their fate.
Kithuruwan Vithanage attempted a valiant resurgence from No. 6, hitting 37 not out from 30, but in the end, spinners Kaushal Lokuarachchi and Shehan Jayasuriya had dismissed too many of his teammates for his innings to pay off. Basnahira lost by two runs, leaving Kandurata with two victories in as many matches.
Although his spinners had been the most effective bowlers on this surface, Lahiru Thirimanne opted to hand Dhammika Prasad the last over of the innings, with Basnahira needing 21. Isuru Udana struck two sixes off the first two balls - the first a monumental straight strike - and having not threatened Kandurata's total for most of the chase, Basnahira needed only 9 from the last four deliveries. Basnahira managed only two runs from the next three balls, with Udana falling off the penultimate ball. Vithanage needed to hit a six off the final delivery to tie the match, but could only get it behind point for four.
Jayasuriya could not make an impact with the bat, earlier in the match, but his spell of 3-0-7-3 broke the back of Basnahira's chase, which had begun steadily. In between Lokuarachchi had Angelo Mathews stumped for the second time in the tournament, and also dismissed Janaka Gunaratne and Sachithra Senanayake - both dangerous batsmen. Lokuarachchi finished with figures of 3 for 25 from his full quota.
Earlier, Milinda Siriwardana had propelled Kandurata's innings beyond 120, after it had threatened to stagnate during the middle overs. His unbeaten ninth-wicket stand with Prasad was worth 23, and the pair took 21 from the last 12 deliveries, with Siriwardana playing primary aggressor. Opener Upul Tharanga had helped lay the foundation for the innings with 27, before Lahiru Thirimanne ensured the scoreboard kept moving during the middle overs, with a 17-ball 22.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here