Mubarak, bowlers engineer Ruhuna win
Ruhuna Reds 162 for 6 (Mubarak 31*, Kusal Perera 28, Thisara Perera 2-36) beat Uthura Yellows 141 (Chandimal 50, Jayawardene 36, Jayaratne 4-23) by 21 runs
A silken 18-ball 36 from Mahela Jayawardene and a half-century from Dinesh Chandimal was not enough to keep Uthura Yellows in the hunt for a final spot, as Ruhuna Reds defended an impressive total to win by 21 runs. No team has yet won batting second in the tournament, and chasing Ruhuna's 162 for 6 on a wearing pitch was always going to be a difficult task.
Uthura, however, were well placed after ten overs at 85 for 1, but Mahela Udawatte's dismissal for 34 in the 12th triggered a collapse as Uthura lost the remaining eight wickets for just 50 runs. Chandimal fought on with a 40-ball 50 - the highest of the tournament, but none of the other batsmen could manage more than five runs, as Uthura were eventually bowled out for 141.
Ruhuna's batting had no obvious heroes, but four batsmen breached 20 striking at more than a run-a-ball, as they maintained a fine run rate throughout. Tillakaratne Dilshan kick-started the innings by hitting four consecutive fours off Thisara Perera's first over, and although he was dismissed soon after, Kusal Perera chimed in with three boundaries and a six, on his way to 28. Seekkuge Prasanna then added 26 off just 17 deliveries, as Ruhuna seemed poised for a big total.
Uthura's spinners, spearheaded by Akila Dananjaya, restricted the flow of runs in the middle overs, but there was enough pace around for Ruhuna's total to keep moving at a lively pace. Jehan Mubarak added a late onslaught with an unbeaten 22-ball 31, and put up 53 for the sixth wicket with Angelo Perera to take Ruhuna to 162 in 20 overs.
Jayawardene was in supreme touch in Uthura's response, with opening partner Mahela Udawatte also finding the boundary with ease, but Jayawardene departed for 36 from 18, nicking a wide delivery to the keeper. Udawatte and Chandimal built on the quick start, but Udawatte's demise brought a string of quick wickets for Ruhuna's pacers, and the chase went quickly astray after the 12th over. Ishan Jayaratne was the pick of the bowlers, finishing with 4 for 23.
Chandimal had been in poor form in internationals and will take some solace in his personal score, but having lost both matches so far, he and Uthura Yellows will be playing for a little more than just pride when they face off against Basnahira Greens on Wednesday.