Wayamba thrash Central Districts for consolation win
Wayamba 144 for 6 (Mubarak 30, Mason 2-16) beat Central Districts 70 (Griggs 19, Mendis 3-14, Udana 3-22) by 74 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Isuru Udana's exploits with the slower ball and Central Districts' insipid performance with the bat helped Wayamba salvage a consolation win and inflict a fourth consecutive defeat on their opponents. On a track hardly threatening for batting, Wayamba struggled through periods of stagnation to reach a score that appeared inadequate but Udana, whose stock ball is the slower delivery, made it a formidable one with the tournament's first hat-trick. He was supported well by the spinners amid a spineless chase, which undermined a disciplined effort by the Central Districts bowlers early in the day.
Central Districts had been the better of the two teams in the run-up to this game, particularly in their batting, and were favourites to avoid a whitewash after their bowlers had stifled Wayamba. There was little movement on offer, the pitch was slightly on the slower side and the bowlers had to earn their wickets with their variations. Ajantha Mendis reaped success with the googly, Rangana Herath bowled the carrom ball while Udana flummoxed the batsmen with deliveries that were just around the 100kmph mark. The frequency with which Udana delivers the slower ball would give you the impression the batsmen know what to expect. But the Central Districts top order, previously unexposed to his bowling, was unprepared and thoroughly deceived.
The start to the chase gave little indication of what was to follow as the in-form Jamie How smacked Udana for a six and a four in the square-leg region. Mendis shared the new ball and delivered, removing How with a straighter delivery that caught him plumb and enabling Udana to target the rest. The slower delivery with the new ball proved lethal due to the accompanying bounce, snaring Brad Patton who was surprised with one that cut back in and spat to catch the leading edge. Mathew Sinclair was next, losing his balance to a wide down the leg side to be stumped. George Worker then probably guessed right but played inside the line to a delivery that didn't nip back in as much as he expected and was bowled. Central Districts were 16 for 4 in the third over and Wayamba had seized control.
The spinners then shut Central Districts out. Peter Ingram doesn't like to move his feet and his failure to pick the googly resulted in a straightforward lbw; Kieran Noema-Barnett had a rush of blood when trying to catch up with the creeping required rate and holed out in the deep; Brendon Diamanti was done in by a quicker delivery from Herath, though replays suggested the ball brushed the pad on the way to the keeper; and Bevan Griggs, fighting a losing battle, fell victim to an outstanding catch by captain Jehan Mubarak, who leapt full length to his left and snapped the ball, already behind him, with one hand. Game over.
That catch was preceded by a crucial contribution with the bat from Mubarak. Unlike their collapses against Chennai Super Kings and Victoria Bushrangers, the batsmen showed greater determination to occupy the crease and build the innings, but it wasn't without struggle. Mahela Jayawardene hit the right notes with a positive start but his dismissal marked the beginning of a grind. The seamers had doled out some freebies and wides during their early stint but the introduction of Worker's left-arm spin and Noema-Barnett's medium pace choked the flow of runs.
Mahela Udawatte was the main reason for Wayamba's decline, failing to force the bowlers away. He limped to 23 off 37 balls before holing out to long-on while Mubarak had to compensate for the slow pace with some meaty hits.
Mubarak broke a 23-ball boundary drought in the 10th over with a delicate guide off Worker to the third-man boundary and drilled Noema-Barnett for two sixes. But Central Districts struck back with his wicket and just five runs in the 16th and 17th overs. Too often the Wayamba batsmen made room but failed to connect while being consistently restrained by the spate of slower deliveries and blockhole lengths. The release Wayamba needed came in the penultimate over with Shalika Karunanayake hammering Seth Rance for a straight six and carting him over extra cover, helping pick 20 with wicketkeeper Kushal Perera. The late surge infused some respectability to the score. As it turned out, they'd got too far.
Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at Cricinfo