141st Battle of the Blues ‘Play for a Cause’ endures its pledge to support four deserving schools
Mahesh Nanayakkara, Co-Chair, Royal – Thomian Match Organising Committee, Asanka Perera, Sub Warden, S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia, Navin Peiris, Vice President – Enterprise Business and Large Enterprise Sales, Dialog Axiata PLC, MAM Riyaz, Asst. Principal, Royal College, Colombo and Prasanna Fernando, Co-Chair, Royal – Thomian Match Organising Committee
Royal – Thomian Match Organising Committee Members – Zulki Hamid, Anura Prashantha, Roshan Adams, Kumudu Warnakulasooriya and Aruna Shantha with the young cricketers from the four benefitting schools and Thevindu Senaratane, Captain of Royal College, Colombo and Manisha Rupasinghe, Vice-Captain of S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavina.
‘Play for a Cause’, the annual sustainability project of the ‘Battle of the Blues’, the annual cricket encounter between Royal College, Colombo, and S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia, as tradition would gift cricket equipment to four deserving schools that are deficient in cricket equipment.
Girithalegama Maha Vidyalaya, Giritale, Sri Rathanajothi Vidyayathana Pirivena, Trincomalee, Menikdiwela Central College, Menikdiwela, and Harishchandra College, Negombo were selected as the worthy beneficiaries by the Royal-Thomian Cricket Joint Match Organising Committee under the aegis of the Principal of Royal College, Colombo, B. A. Abeyrathna and Warden of S. Thomas, College, Mt. Lavinia, Rev. Marc Billimoria.
In 2015, on the 136th edition of the Royal-Thomian, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, Dialog Axiata PLC rekindled a long and successful partnership with Sri Lanka’s Blue-Ribbon Big Match, The Battle of the Blues and made a pledge to contribute 1,000 rupees for every run scored and 10,000 rupees for every wicket that fell during the match. This year’s exciting encounter contributed 1,008,000 rupees to the ‘Play for a Cause’ pledge. Since the inception of the ‘Play for a Cause’ pledge, inclusive of the 141st Battle of the Blues, 6,151,000 rupees worth of cricket gear has been donated to 22 deserving schools.
The ‘Battle of the Blues’ is one of the most celebrated school-level sports encounters in Sri Lanka and has a rich and colourful history and tradition spanning 141 years. It is also distinguished for holding the honour of being the second longest uninterrupted cricket series played in the world, second only to the annual encounter played between St. Peter’s College, Adelaide and Prince Alfred College, Adelaide, Australia, which began just a year earlier.
South Africa ace record run chase to level series
In what was another incredible run fest at Centurion, South Africa brushed aside West Indies by six-wickets with a record-breaking run chase in the second T20I on Sunday (March 26).
Set an unrealistic target of 259 on a perfect batting surface with short boundaries, South Africa’s openers made a mockery of the assignment, racking up a century stand inside the PowerPlay itself. It was the sort of assault that West Indies were least expecting and the the Quinton de Kock-Reeza Hendricks partnership did it with minimum fuss, using the pristine conditions to the fullest.
By the time the stand was broken, the chase seemed to be a formality of sorts, considering the hosts’ firepower in the middle order and despite losing a few wickets in the middle overs, skipper Aiden Markram and Heinrich Klaasen got the job done with seven balls to spare.
The freak batting show from the Proteas overshadowed West Indies’ unreal batting performance earlier in the game, with the visitors posting their highest-ever total in the shortest format of the game. It was an exhibition of brutal power-hitting, led by Johnson Charles who smashed the joint-second fastest century of all time.
He got good support from the others, notably Romario Shepherd and skipper Rovman Powell as the South African bowlers were taken to the cleaners. Only Kagiso Rabada managed to withstand the onslaught to some extent but even he went at over 10 runs-per-over.
At the halfway stage, it seemed like West Indies had closed the door on this series but South Africa led by de Kock broke that open with a historic batting effort. A total of 46 boundaries and 35 sixes were hit in this mind-boggling contest.
The final game of the series will be played at The Wanderers, Johannesburg on Tuesday (March 26).
South Africa 259/4 in 18.5 overs (Qintotn de Kock 100, Reeza Hendricks 68, Aiden Markram 38*) beat West Indies 258/5 in 20 overs (Charles 118, Mayers 51, Shepherd 41*) by six wickets
Spinners, Sciver-Brunt guide Mumbai Indians women to WPL title
Mumbai Indians were crowned the inaugural champions of the Women’s Premier League after a tense, low-scoring final at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai. In a nervy title clash between the two best teams of the competition, it was the experience of Nat Sciver-Brunt that helped Mumbai get across the line, the star all-rounder following up her Eliminator blitz with a more measured knock of 60* off 55 balls. Sciver-Brunt’s half-century and her crucial partnership of 72 with Harmanpreet Kaur (37) came after an excellent bowling performance, particularly from Hayley Matthews and Melie Kerr, that restricted the Delhi Capitals to a modest total of 131.
Delhi Capitals women 131/9 in 20 overs (Meg Lanning 35, Radha Yadav 27*; Hayley Matthews 3-5, Issy Wong 3-42, Melie Kerr 2-18) lost to Mumbai Indians women 134/3 in 19.3 overs (Nat Sciver-Brunt 60*, Harmanpreet Kaur 37; Radha Yadav 1-24) by seven wickets.
Where have all the mystery bowlers gone?
by Rex Clementine
It’s been a while since a mystery Sri Lankan spinner bamboozled the opposition batsmen. Not just batsmen but coaches went on a frenzy decoding these bowlers while Times of India and Daily Telegraph dedicated headlines praising how well Sri Lanka groomed these sensational talents.
Ajantha Mendis was the last global sensation with bit of mystery as his carrom ball humbled India’s fabulous batting line-up comprising Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman and Ganguly. After him T. M. Dilshan opening the batting with field restrictions on came up with a scoop shot over the head of the wicketkeeper that later became popular as Dilscoop.
Not exactly mystery but Sri Lanka promoting unorthodox style of play totally contrary to the coaching manual had been appreciated and encouraged. Not just Dilshan and Mendis but Lasith Malinga, Muttiah Muralitharan and Sanath Jayasuriya all broke convention and were extremely successful.
Credit to selectors and captains for encouraging these natural talents and more importantly for the coaches, especially at lower levels, for not sidelining them for being different.
Mendis and Malinga weren’t hits at school cricket and they were more or less groomed after they left school. But Jayasuriya and Murali were entirely different. Thankfully their early coaches did not tinker too much with their style.
Coaches nowadays are too engaged in the sport. They roam around the boundary rope providing ball by ball instructions making the captain redundant. Imagine how much impact they’d be having on players at training and there’s little room for creativity.
Cricket Academies are mushrooming as well with little monitoring done and you sense that not many players with unorthodox style are going to be accepted and as a result succeed. There are few rare talents with unorthodox styles. Some bowlers have copied Lasith Malinga and Matheesha Pathirana has earned an IPL deal even before he’s become a permanent fixture in the Sri Lankan side.
Paul Adams earned a nickname ‘frog in the blender’ for his action and anyone who sees Sri Lankan spinner Kevin Koththigoda from down south will remember the South African wrist spinner.
Funnily Richmond College, Galle seem to be nurturing these special talents and Kamindu Mendis is another player who can make a big impact. He’s nowadays mostly in the Test squad and nearly featured in the second Test in Wellington. He’s there in the team for his batting but he’s ambidextrous and bowls both left-arm spin and off-spin with good accuracy. That makes him an ideal candidate for shorter formats of the game and that’s where he should perhaps focus more at succeeding.
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