Chandimal powers Uthura to consolation win
Uthura Yellows 158 for 5 (Chandimal 93*, Prasad 2-26) beat Kandurata Maroons 152 for 7 (Kandamby 90, Rambukwella 2-14) by six runs
Thilina Kandamby's 54-ball 90 brought Kandurata Maroons to within touching distance of Uthura Yellows' total, but a nerveless final over from Shaminda Eranga saw Kandurata fall short by six runs. Earlier, Dinesh Chandimal scored an unbeaten 93 from 57 to help Uthura post 158 for 5.
The loss, however, did not have an effect on Kandurata's standings in the table and their second-place finish has given them a place in the final against Basnahira Greens on August 17.
Kandurata's innings was shaped by Kandamby, who had some support from Pabasara Waduge in the early overs. However, none of the other batsmen could manage more than eight runs.
Playing his first match of the tournament, Ramith Rambukwella snared Kumar Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne in the middle overs to hamper the chase, and finished with figures of 2 for 14 from his four overs.
Chandimal had hit the competition's only fifty in his previous match and, having had a lean few months in limited-overs cricket, his run in this tournament may signal a return to form. The busy cuts and dabs had returned to his game, as had strokes over the infield that he has struggled to play of late, and though he had two fortuitous top edges that fell into space, he drove the innings along smartly, rarely allowing bowlers to settle against him.
He attacked the pacers to begin with, hitting consecutive fours off Dhammika Prasad in the fifth over, but became more assured against spin as the innings wore on. Ajantha Mendis was struck for successive boundaries, in the 16th over, just after Chandimal had launched legspinner Kaushal Lokuarachchi over long-on for six. Another six off Mendis finished off Uthura's innings, and those runs would eventually prove crucial in the final tally.
With two left-handers opening the batting for Kandurata, Chandimal opened the bowling with Rambukwella, and had two cheap overs out of the offspinner before Kandamby began his charge. Kandamby struck six fours off ten Chathura Peiris deliveries inside the Powerplay, but regular wickets at the other end prevented him from maintaining that frenetic pace.
Sangakkara and Thirimanne had been Kandurata's best batsmen so far in the tournament, and although Rambukwella made short work of both - taking a return catch off Sangakkara's leading edge, and sliding a quick one underneath Thirimanne's bat - Kandamby continued to progress smoothly.
Kandurata needed only 30 from the last three overs, and though Kandamby made the equation easier with two fours in the 18th over, he was bowled in the next. With 12 runs needed from the final over, it ultimately proved too much for the Kandurata tail, as Eranga delivered six yorkers to seal the victory.