Kaushal Silva hands SSC Premier League title
Sinhalese Sports Club has triumphed in the Premier League Tournament final, defeating Moors Sports Club by six wickets in the four-day match at SSC
Sinhalese Sports Club 324 (Silva 171, Dilhara 4-77) and 262 for 4 (Silva 88) beat Moors Sports Club 262 (Jayasuriya 68, Gunathilaka 4-54) and 323 (de Saram 101, Madushanka 4-87)Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Sinhalese Sports Club has triumphed in the Premier League Tournament final, defeating Moors Sports Club by six wickets in the four-day match at SSC. League top-scorer Kaushal Silva starred again, hitting 171 in the first innings to help SSC to a 62-run lead, before making a rapid 88 from 105 in the second innings, as SSC chased down the 262 runs they required, with only 4.3 overs still remaining in the game.
The hosts arrived on the final day still needing three wickets to end Moors' impressive third innings, and already 248 to get on the final day, in order to secure the trophy. Moors' resistance lasted only four overs on the fourth morning however - just long enough for Indika de Saram to complete his 28th first-class hundred, having ended the previous day at 89 not out. He made 12 of Moors' 13 runs to finish with 101, as the SSC fast bowlers made short work of the tailenders around him.
SSC then had 83 overs in which to secure victory, and they began with a positive half-century to Dimuth Karunaratne, who made 73 from 98. His opening partner Tharanga Paranavitana had taken 101 balls to make 32, but Silva's swift progress ensured the hosts did not fall behind the virtual asking rate. Perera hit nine fours and a six in his 88, but perished to the left-arm spin of Malinda Pushpakumara, five overs before the winning runs were hit by captain Thilina Kandamby, who had made 340 not out in the previous match to secure SSC's place in the final.
Moors had opted to bat on the first morning, but despite an opening partnership worth 108, could not bat themselves into a strong position, succumbing instead for 262 in the evening. Shehan Jayasuriya's 68 from 66, during which he hit 10 fours and a six, provided a good foundation, but Moor's middle order fell in a heap, and could not capitalise. From 108 for none, Moors stumbled to 147 for 4, largely thanks to left-arm seam bowler Charith Jayampathi, who dismissed both openers and effected a run out. Moors then launched recoveries through Janaka Gunaratne, then Chaturanga de Silva, who made 51, but both batsmen continued to lose partners at the other end and could not make a substantial-enough score themselves. Gunathilaka's offspin brought him 4 for 54, for SSC.
SSC began their reply poorly, and having reduced them to 59 for 4, Moors might were headed for a substantial first-innings lead despite their own sub-par score. But a stellar hand from Silva in a season full of them, not only rescued his side, but put them into a commanding position. He first featured in a 73-run partnership with Kandamby, before Moors struck four times quickly to have SSC eight down for 168. Silva's 102-run ninth-wicket partnership with Dhammika Prasad, however, took his side beyond their opponents' score, before his 54-run partnership with last-man Kasun Madushanka, took SSC well beyond 300. Madushanka made five of those runs.
Jayasuriya launched a quick start for Moors again, but could only make 35 from 31 this time, and his demise, with Moors still behind, brought two more quick scalps for the opposition. De Saram held firm on one end, but regular wickets fell at the other, and Moors were quickly in a desperate position, at 142 for 6. Captain Dilhara Lokuhettige, batting at No. 8, finally provided de Saram the support that he needed however, and Lokuhettige contributed 78 to the 167-run partnership that hauled Moors out of a mire. But his departure near the close of day three, exposed the tail, and his side would eventually finish runners-up after the drama of the final day.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here