|Schls Inv XI||2||0||2||0||0||0||-2.488||193/40.0||195/26.4|
Ruhuna and Basnahira South became the early leaders in the Inter-provincial Twenty20 tournament which began with back-to-back matches on Wednesday. Ruhuna took the top spot by grabbing an extra bonus point in each of their matches against Schools Invitation XI and Basnahira North.
They made short work of the Schools side at the Moors Sports Club Ground, dismissing them for a paltry 73 in 17 overs and knocking off the runs in 10.5 overs to earn the extra bonus point. The Schools batting was rattled by the left-arm medium-fast bowler Sujeewa de Silva who picked up four wickets for 16.
The following day, Ruhuna repeated the feat by defeating Basnahira North at the same venue by 51 runs. On each occasion, their star performer was the hard-hitting batsman Indika de Saram.
De Saram hit an unbeaten 31 out of an unbroken third wicket stand of 61 with Saman Jayantha to steer Ruhuna to an eight-wicket win over Schools XI after Sri Lanka openers Upul Tharanga and Sanath Jayasuriya had departed for 13. The next day, he displayed his full repertoire of strokes to slam an elegant 94 off 46 balls, including nine sixes and four fours, as Ruhuna ran up the highest total of the tournament - 203/6 against Basnahira North, who could manage only 152. Tharanga was also amongst the runs making 52 off 47 balls and Jayasuriya, the captain, contributed 32 in a brisk opening stand of 43.
Basnahira South showed their all-round capabilities to register two successive victories; they beat Wayamba by 50 runs and followed that up with a 33-run win over Kandurata..
The Kandurata team, led by national captain Kumar Sangakkara and also including Muttiah Muralitharan, experienced mixed fortunes in their matches. They began on a winning note, defeating Basnahira North by six wickets with Muralitharan turning up with figures of four for 16 and fast bowler Thilan Thushara chipping in with three wickets. However, they were then beaten by Basnahira South at the P Sara Oval. Muralitharan, promoted as pinch hitter at No. 3, lasted just one ball. Kandurata slumped to 19 for 3 and were then always behind the eight-ball.
Jehan Mubarak played a captain's knock, making an unbeaten 60 off 42 balls to steer Wayamba to a four-wicket win - their first of the tournament - against Schools XI.
Basnahira North and Schools XI have lost both their opening two matches.
Sujeewa de Silva
Indika de Saram
Sri Lanka Cricket Inter-Provincial Twenty20 Tournament
Sri Lanka Domestic Season