Kulatunga blasts Wayamba to victory
Jeevantha Kulatunga played the stellar role, scoring a stroke-filled 78 off 45 balls and capturing 2 for 33, to steer Wayamba to a 31-run victory in the inaugural inter-provincial Twenty20 final
Wayamba 174 for 9 (Kulatunga 78) beat Ruhuna 143 by 31 runs
Invited to bat first, Wayamba were 18 for 2 when Kulatunga arrived in the middle. He weathered the storm of Kosala Kulasekera, who had threatened to run through the batting, before starting to display his repertoire of strokes. He lifted his team to a fighting total of 174 for 9, hitting five sixes and as many fours in his fastidious knock.
After losing their first two wickets for six runs, Ruhuna were pegged on the back foot by bowlers who maintained a tight line and reduced them to 96 for 7 by the end of the 14th over. A late rally by wicketkeeper Gihan de Silva, who slammed a quick 36 off 18 balls (two sixes, two fours), only delayed the inevitable as Ruhuna eventually folded up for 143 at the start of the final over.
Wayamba skipper Jehan Mubarak attributed his team's victory to Kulatunga's all-round contribution. "He made the difference between the two sides," Mubarak said.
Kulatunga picked up the Player-of-the-Match award with Chintaka Jayasinghe of Kandurata taking the Player-of-the-Series prize.
Sri Lanka Cricket were forced to cancel the Super Four round of matches due to bad weather and make it a straight knockout contest with the semi-finals and the final.
Wayamba edged past Kandurata by seven runs and Ruhuna defeated Basnahira North by five wickets in the semi-finals.