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Beware of Dulla  

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by Rex Clementine

Amal Silva spoke little English those days. During the Lord’s Test in 1984, when Ian Botham said not so complementary things about Amal’s mother, the opening bat was asking the non-striker and captain Duleep Mendis what’s going on. Both Moratuwa boys, they were playing contrasting knocks. Amal took 255 balls for his hundred while Duleep raced to 94 in 97 balls. The latter was dealing in boundaries particularly targeting Mr. Botham. That the golden boy of English cricket ended up bowling off-spin in that game is a little known fact. That’s Duleep. Never cross his path.

Well, the Sri Lankan cricket team will be crossing his path in a fortnight’s time. They take on Oman in two T-20 Internationals, a side coached by Duleep. One thing is absolutely certain, Duleep will be prepared for this challenge. He would have studied every Sri Lankan player; their strengths and weaknesses and what’s the best way to get the better of an emerging and unsettled team.

Mind you Sri Lanka will be without three of their leading players. Kusal Perera is recovering from a hamstring injury while Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga are on IPL leave. On paper, Sri Lanka are still the stronger team. But cricket is a funny game and Duleep is a different beast.

In this series, even if Oman do not pose a challenge at all to Sri Lanka who have been well grilled after a hard fought series against South Africa, the bigger picture for Duleep is the World Cup qualifiers.

Make no mistake, Duleep has completely turned around Oman’s cricket. That’s a fact. All that in such a short time too.

With sheer hard work and guidance, Duleep enabled the Omanis to achieve T-20 status. Then a few years later they ended up gaining ODI status. Now they will be playing in a World Cup. His expertise has been on not just how to develop Oman’s senior side. But to put a cricket structure in place and build the proper infrastructure. Isn’t it remarkable that in such a short span of time Oman will be conducting a World Cup! It’s proof that ICC has recognized the remarkable progress they have made over the years.

Duleep’s half a century of association with Sri Lankan cricket has helped him to turn things around for Oman. He has done it all as a player, coach, chairman of selectors, manager, director cricket operations and eventually CEO. A golden half a century in which Sri Lankan cricket reached new heights until all of a sudden on flimsy grounds they forced him to retire. Duleep by no means is someone to harbour grudges. Like all sportsmen he has seen good and bad days and knows how to take them on the chin.

Once Duleep reached the age of 60, those who removed him thought he will quietly go into retirement. But cricketing gods had other plans. He was sent to Oman to help a budding cricket nation. Here at the age of 69, you see him still doing throw downs at 20-year-old’s. Older the bull, harder the ….

Oman’s progress has been so rapid. Interestingly, it has coincided with that of Sri Lanka’s decline.

In 2017, Sri Lanka rang up Duleep asking him to return home to take up some key responsibilities. He turned down the offer politely saying that he has been well looked after by the Omanis.

It’s a dangerous thing to quote the scriptures. Your friends make fun at you saying, ‘it’s like devil quoting the scriptures.’ Nevertheless, stories like these need to end with the words that ‘a prophet is not welcomed in his own country.’



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Phil Salt sets up big win for Dambulla Giants

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Niroshan Dickwella scored 37 runs.

Phil Salt hammered 64 in 27 balls and Nuwan Pradeep and Ramesh Mendis picked up three wickets each as Dambulla Giants beat Kandy Warriors by 20 runs in the second match of the Lanka Premier League played at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Monday.

In reply to Giants’ 190 runs, Warriors could post only 170 as Padeep and Mendis shared six wickets between them.

Phil Salt was the Player of the Match for his 64 which was inclusive of four fours and five sixes. “I’m just going out there trying to play positive cricket,” he said. “I know from playing out here a few times that the new ball doesn’t stay new for very long, and you’ve got to make the best of it.”

Salt and Niroshan Dickwella gave a superb start to the tournament for Giants as they put on 97 runs together in the first 7.4 overs. From that point on, it was always going to be tough for Warriors. Dickwella scored 37 runs inclusive of six fours. Skipper Dasun Shanaka chipped in with 24 runs while Ramesh Mendis hit an unbeaten 22 runs in 11 balls.

Warriors did fight with the bat thanks largely to Rovman Powell’s 42 off 21, but the best they could do was get close enough so their net run rate wasn’t too badly damaged.

Scores:

Dambulla Giants  190 for 7 in 20 overs

(Niroshan Dickwella 37, Phil Salt 64, Dasun Shanaka 24, Ramesh Mendis 22n.o.; Lahiru Kumara 3/34, Al-Amin Hossain 2/36) 

Kandy Warriors 170 for 8 in 20 overs

(Angelo Perera 24, Rovman Powell 42, Sachindu Colombage 27; Nuwan Pradeep 3/31, Ramesh Mendis 3/21) 

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Vijaya, Rantharu shine at Dialog President’s Gold Cup Volleyball Championship

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Men’s Champions Rantharu Ports Club pose after they won the men’s title.

Rantharu Sports Club, Debegama and Vijaya Sports Club, Koswadiya won the men’s and women’s titles respectively of the Dialog President’s Gold Cup Volleyball Championship 2020 at the National Youth Services Council Indoor Stadium on Sunday.

Vijaya Sports Club, Koswadiya beat Hirdaramani Sports Club Galigamuwa 3-1 in the women’s final. After being beaten 18-25 in the first set the team fought back scoring victories in the next three sets to win the award.

J.W.P. Thushari (best setter), Chathurika Ranasinghe (best blocker), Sanjeewani Adhikari (best defender) and Dinesha Prasadani (best attacker and most valuable player) who did well for the winners received awards for their outstanding performances. Nimeshika Sewwandi Gunasekara and Harshani Senaratne from Hirdaramani were adjudged the best server and best receiver respectively.

Women’s Champions Vijaya Sports Club pose with their awards.

In the men’s final, Rantharu Sports Club, Debegama beat United Sports Club, Nattandiya to win the men’s title.

Kanishka Madushanka (best server), Ruchira Sampath Jayatunga (best setter), Nishan Kodisinghe (best blocker), Suranga Wickramasena (best defender) and Sanka Dineth Jayaratne (most valuable player) received individual awards for Rantharu.

Kushan Chamara (best receiver) and Mahela Indeewara (best attacker) won awards for United.

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Chathurya, Thehan, Oneli, Tania win Under 18 doubles titles

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Chathurya Nilaweera and Thehan Wijemanne and Oneli Perera and Tania Doloswala won the Under 18 boys’ and girls’ doubles titles of the 106 Colombo Championships on Sunday.

In the Under 16 doubles finals, Saajida Razick and Dinara de Silva and Thilina Dissanayake and Nithila Goonetilleke were the girls’ and boys’ winners respectively, while Abdul Cader and Dhanushka Dias clinched the Under 14 boys’ doubles title.

Match Results

Under 18 girls doubles final:

Oneli Perera and Tania Doloswala beat Hasali Gajaba and Minuki Wanniarachchi (2-4, 4-2, 10-4)

Under 18 boys doubles final

: Chathurya Nilaweera and Thehan Wijemanne beat Vichinthya Nilaweera and Heshika Perera (4-1, 4-1)

Under- 16 girls doubles final:

Saajida Razick and Dinara de Silva beat Dinethya Dharmaratne and Anitra Dharmaratne (5-3, 4-2)

Under 16 boys doubles final:

Thilina Dissanayake and Nithila Goonetilleke beat Methvan Wijemanne and Lisal Goonetilleke (5-3, 4-2)

Under 14 boys doubles final:

Abdul Cader and Dhanushka Dias beat Kavidu Sawmya and Ganuka Fernando (4-2, 5-3).

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