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CCC, Negombo CC record wins as domestic cricket resumes in Sri Lanka

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The Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Premier League Tier A tournament 2019/20 resumed on the 10th of August after a hiatus of almost five months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The tournament which was postponed at the end of the group stage in March 2020, saw the top 8 teams progressing to the super 8s while the other six teams were left to battle it out in the Plate Championship.

The current table toppers of the Super 8s (CCC) and Plate Championship (Negombo CC) recorded the only two wins of the 7 matches that concluded during the week respectively, with some of the top national players turning out for their respective clubs with no national cricket duties.

Super 8s

Angelo Mathews made a grand return to domestic cricket with an unbeaten 173* which was the highest score of the round, but Colts CC had to be satisfied with a first-innings victory over Saracens SC. Santhush Gunathilake also hit a century for Colts, following on from a ton in his previous game before the break against Negombo CC.

Centuries from Upul Tharanga and Lahiru Udara secured first-innings points for NCC, before former Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal lit up the game with a 2nd innings century for the soldiers as the match ended in a tame draw at the SSC ground in Colombo. Thulina Dilshan also made an unbeaten century in the Army 2nd Innings, but it was left arm seamer Dilesh Gunaratne who ended with 7 wickets in the match for NCC who stole the limelight on a familiar batting paradise at the SSC.

CCC’s title defence was hardly threatened as Ragama CC succumbed to an innings and 125 runs defeat at the hands of the table toppers in their game that concluded in Katunayake. Kusal Mendis was the star with the bat for the winners top scoring with 139 before Malinda Pushpakumara went about his business to end with 8 wickets in the match. CCC are well ahead in the title race with NCC almost 18 points behind them in second place.

Kamindu Mendis’ all-round efforts was the highlight of the drawn game between BRC and Chilaw Marians that concluded at the CCC grounds. Mendis hit an unbeaten 150* to go along with four wickets with the ball in BRC’s 2nd innings. BRC managed to hang in for 80 overs to save the match, with Dilshan de Soysa playing out of his skin to remain unbeaten on 105*.

Brief Scores:

Colts CC vs Saracens SC

Colombo Colts Cricket Club – 408/6d (128.2) Anjelo Mathews 173*, Santhush Gunathilaka 100, Avishka Fernando 66, Sadeera Samarawickrama 41, Kasun Rajitha 3/85, Promod Maduwantha 2/72

Saracens Sports Club – 182 (81.2) Gamindu Kanishka 45, Saliya Saman 38, Navindu Vithanage 32, Milinda Siriwardana 27, Nisala Tharaka 3/34, Dilshan Madushanka 2/37, Prabath Jayasuriya 2/41 & F/O 106/3 (40) Navindu Vithanage 34*, Sithara Gimhan 27, Gamindu Kanishka 23, Akila Dananjaya 2/19

Army SC vs NCC

Army Cricket Club 269 – (84.1) Janith Silva 54, Asela Gunaratne 50, Himasha Liyanage 46, Mahesh Kumara 41, Dilesh Gunarathna 5/42, Chathuranga De Silva 3/90 & 255/3 (60) Dinesh Chandimal 129, Thulina Dilshan 116*, Dilesh Gunarathna 2/13

Nondescripts Cricket Club – 417/7d (88) Upul Tharanga 121, Lahiru Udara 105, Mahela Udawatte 77*, Chamika Karunarathna 30*, Angelo Perera 29, Sahan Arachchige 25, Seekkuge Prasanna 3/91

CCC vs Ragama CC

Colombo Cricket Club – 499/7d (117) Kusal Mendis 139, Minod Bhanuka 88, Wanindu Hasaranga 88, Ashan Priyanjan 58, Lahiru Madushanka 57*, Sonal Dinusha 29, Binura Fernando 4/72

Ragama Cricket Club – 132 (41.2) Janith Liyanage 43*, Roshen Silva 27, Malinda Pushpakumara 4/35, Lahiru Madushanka 2/16, Wanindu Hasaranga 2/36 & F/O 242 (58.3) Janith Liyanage 50*, Roshen Silva 41, Ishan Jayaratne 35, Binura Fernando 29, Nishan Madushka 29, Saminda Fernando 23, Malinda Pushpakumara 4/55, Ashan Priyanjan 2/64, Wanindu Hasaranga 2/66

Chilaw Marians CC vs BRC

Chilaw Marians Cricket Club – 195 (47.2) Oshada Fernando 42, Pulina Tharanga 40, Kasun Vidura 38, Thikshila De Silva 35, Bhanuka Rajapaksa 3/26, Hashen Ramanayake 3/43, Duvindu Tillakaratne 3/54 & 385/8d (89.2) Kamindu Mendis 150*, Kasun Vidura 87, Thikshila De Silva 41, Shehan Jayasuriya 35, Oshada Fernando 30, Bhanuka Rajapaksa 3/40, Duvindu Tillakaratne 2/71

Burgher Recreation Club – 87 (34.2) Deshan Dias 24, Asitha Fernando 4/42, Nimesh Vimukthi 3/06, Thikshila De Silva 3/13 & 231/8 (80) Dilshan De Soysa 105*, Deshan Dias 28, Shanuka Dulaj 25, Hashen Ramanayake 20, Kamindu Mendis 4/43, Pulina Tharanga 2/32, Thikshila De Silva 2/23

Plate Championship

Negombo CC came-from-behind to record a thrilling five wicket win over Lankan CC who secured a vital 32 run 1st innings lead earlier in the match. While young right arm off-spinner Lakshitha Rasanjana captured five wickets in the first innings for Negombo, it was veteran left arm tweaker Upul Indrasiri who did the damage in  the second innings with a match winning five wicket haul. Lankan CC skipper Chanaka Ruwansiri made 124 in his teams’ 1st innings, but a 2nd innings collapse meant Lankan CC could not drive home the advantage. The win also put Negombo on top of the Plate Championship with Tamil Union not too far behind with two more rounds of cricket remaining.

Badureliya SC held on to a nervy draw, as they finished their 2nd innings on 120/9 in pursuit of 497 set by Moors SC, who managed to dominate most of the game. Fast bowler Kavishka Anjula was the star for Moors as he captured 11 wickets in the match at the Colts ground in Colombo.

SSC’s torrid season continued as they were beaten by Tamil Union CAC on first-innings at the NCC ground, in Colombo. Sri Lanka seamer Suranga Lakmal’s 1st innings four-wicket burst set the game up for Tamil Union, before Ranmith Jayasena top scored with 82 runs.

Lankan CC vs Negombo CC

Lankan Cricket Club – 270 (68.2) Chanaka Ruwansiri 124, Lahiru Dilshan 43, Dunith Wellalage 37, Lakshitha Rasanjana 5/85, Upul Indrasiri 3/79 & 111 (50.3) Risith Upamal 36, Chanaka Ruwansiri 30, Kasun Abeyrathne 20, Upul Indrasiri 5/34, Roshen Fernando 3/29

Negombo Cricket Club – 238 (69.2) Madawa Warnapura 64, Roscoe Thattil 63, Ashen Silva 53, Dunith Wellalage 3/66, Geeth Kumara 2/33, Chanaka Ruwansiri 2/45 & 147/5 (36.5) Roscoe Thattil 38* Madawa Warnapura 33*, Pasindu Lakshanka 29, Dilshan Munaweera 25, Dunith Wellalage 3/60

Moors SC vs Baduraliya SC

Moors Sports Club – 340 (100.2) Ayana Siriwardhana 83, Adeesha Thilanchana 53, Dinuka Dilshan 46, Kavishka Anjula 42, Ramesh Mendis 40, Nipun Karunanayake 27, Anuk Fernando 27, Lahiru Samarakoon 5/86, Dushan Hemantha 2/57, Buddika Sanjeewa 2/75 & 305/6d (69.1) Ramesh Mendis 61, Sachithra Serasinghe 60, Nipun Karunanayake 58, Mohammed Shamaaz 48, Pabasara Waduge 36, Adeesha Thilanchana 28*, Lahiru Samarakoon 2/33

Badureliya Cricket Club – 149 (45.5) Salinda Ushan 67, Dushan Hemantha 25, Dunith Jayatunga 22, Kavishka Anjula 5/39, Sachithra Serasinghe 3/12, Ramesh Mendis 2/37 & 120/9 (40) Dushan Hemantha 43, Salinda Ushan 23, Kavishka Anjula 6/35, Praveen Jayawickrama 3/43

SSC vs Tamil Union CAC

Sinhalese Sports Club – 254 (77.5) Sachithra Senanayake 81, Akash Senaratne 37, Sandun Weerakkody 35, Dasun Shanaka 35, Charith Asalanka 24, Dhammika Prasad 21, Suranga Lakmal 4/36, Isuru Udana 2/43, Pramod Madushan 2/53 & 271/5 (63) Charith Asalanka 94, Sandun Weerakkody 68, Sammu Ashan 37, Dasun Shanaka 30, Krishan Sanjula 20*, Maduka Liyanapathiranage 2/51

Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club – 349 (98)Ranmith Jayasena 82, Tharanga Paranavitana 71, Dhananjaya De Silva 53, Dhakshitha Fernando 49, Yohan Mendis 31, Maduka Liyanapathiranage 25, Jeffrey Vandersay 4/91, Sachithra Senanayake 3/63, Dhammika Prasad 2/37

 



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ICC encourages member boards to try innovations that’ll improve the game

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Sean Easey, Senior Manager - Umpires and Referees of  ICC  

by Rex Clementine

 Cricket’s global governing body, ICC, is encouraging member boards to try innovations that will improve the game. Sean Easey, Senior Manager – Umpires and Referees of the ICC, says the modification done by BCCI allowing players to review umpiring calls for wides and no balls during the IPL was a decision in the right direction. Furthermore, it could become part of international games in the future.

 “I was lucky enough to go to IPL and see how that system worked. Credit to BCCI for trying that out. As an international organization, we rely on boards to do some research and develop things that will help improve match officiating and help the game overall. We need to understand it more first. We need to work with our providers on how the system could be used at a global event. There is definitely scope for us to use technology more and more moving forward,” Easey told Sunday Island in an interview.

 Another significant moment in the game was when New Zealand Cricket named Kim Cotton as an umpire in a men’s T-20 match involving New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Dunedin last year. This could happen in ICC events as well moving forward.

 “That is definitely part of the plan. Very shortly we are launching a new umpire pathway. We are working very closely with boards to come up with inclusive and clear pathway models. We would love to see female umpires doing men’s games. Hopefully one day female umpires will be doing men’s Test cricket.”

Born in Melbourne, Easey played community cricket in Victoria and functioned in a similar role to the one with ICC with Cricket Australia for 12 years before moving to Dubai in 2023.

The best 20 umpires in the world officiated the recent World Cup in the Caribbean and USA. The umpiring standards have improved significantly in the last ten years or so and there are various aspects to help umpires making accurate decisions. Match Referees keep a close eye on how umpires perform and there are Umpire Coaches as well who play a key role. However, feedback from captains on umpires has reduced somewhat at present.

 “Captains do give feedback, but they aren’t as direct as it used to be. One reason is that there is a trend that favourable feedback comes from winning teams while unfavourable feedback is usually from the losing team. It is hard for us to interpret that. The captains are always welcome to give feedback either through the Match Referee, or there is a form that they can fill in and give us,” Easey explained.

Covid made everyone adjust and one of the significant things that happened with umpires and match referees is that officials had got an opportunity to do home games. However, we have now gone back to neutral umpires. Given the accuracy rates of umpires at international games, is there a chance to do away with the concept of neutral umpires?

 “It is a very complex question. The international panel of umpires did a wonderful job. They performed well. We have gone back to neutral umpires now. There are several reasons why we think neutral umpires is important. That takes out the accusation of bias from home umpires. That still exists, which is a shame but that’s the reality. The other thing about neutral appointments is that we are able to get the best umpires officiating more often, and in big games.”

So how does the process of getting the best umpires to officiate in a World Cup final or a semi-final or an Ashes contest work?

“It’s not just a case of umpires who made the least number of errors at the event. We have worked through a process during the World Cup where umpires and referees moved through to the Super Eight phase of this event. From 20 umpires we reduced to 16 umpires for the second round. Lots of statistics were looked at. An umpire may have been error free for four months and can make one mistake. That’s not a deal breaker. Another key aspect is we want people who manage games well.”

 Most cricketers when they retire opt for commentaries or coaching and umpiring doesn’t seem to be one of the preferred areas post-retirement. Easey wants people to give umpiring a go. “The key message is to be open to it. If you enjoy being part of the game, try and give it a go. People will be pleasantly surprised at the team environment and camaraderie that we have got. Umpiring is the only non-playing role in cricket that keeps you in the game. It is a unique position and you can take a lot of pride in it.

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Wanindu does a Botham

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Wanindu Hasaranga

By Rex Clementine

Some of the biggest stars of cricket have been flops as captains. Names like Ian Botham, Sachin Tendulkar, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Lasith Malinga were spectacular failures as captains. In sports, in general, a player’s seniority brings him the captaincy. But cricket is different. Captaining a cricket team is not merely walking in for a coin toss. It involves much more. It’s a tactical game. In most sports, coaches make the call. In cricket, captains make the call on the field of play. That’s why your best brain has to lead the side and not your best player. Sadly, in our part of the world, we do not adhere to this concept.

With The Ashes slipping away from England in 1981, Ian Botham stepped down as captain, ‘moments before he was sacked’. On Thursday Wanindu Hasaranga did a Botham ending weeks of speculation about his future as Sri Lanka’s T-20 captain.

The World Cup was bad. Wanindu made some bad calls and Sri Lanka failed to make it to the second round. So did Pakistan and New Zealand. That’s part and parcel of the game. But what was more disturbing was Wanindu’s conduct during the Lanka Premier League.

One day Wanindu was aggressive towards a young player, the next day he copped a hefty fine for using incorrect equipment. These are things that could have been avoided. The Kandy team had been apparently given a prior warning about using the wrong helmet. Everyone else fell in line the next day but not Wanindu. He repeated the offence leaving officials with Hobson’s choice but to fine him. Nobody is bigger than the game. Everyone has to fall in line.

To his credit, Wanindu did win three bilateral series though. Some people brush aside these saying there’s no point in beating Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Well, Afghanistan did make the semi-finals of the World Cup and made the Aussies and the Kiwis eat humble pie.

Wanindu did bring a few good things into the side. He stressed on fielding brilliance and running well between the wickets. He backed certain players he had picked. But he did not treat everyone equally. In any dressing room there will be differences. It is said keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Wanindu kept his enemies at quite a distance. That did not help the team’s cause.

Then, there was an altercation with the umpires. That too in a dead rubber! That landed him in trouble earning a two-match suspension. It was ugly to watch. Wanindu is not the first Sri Lankan to take on an umpire. Others did it for bigger reasons to save people’s careers. Here the captain was trying to be childish protesting over a waist high no-ball. At school when you are starting your cricket you are taught that only two people are infallible: the Pope and the umpire.

Less than a month later he repeated the offence taking on anther umpire. He was facing a four-match ban and literally out of the World Cup. Sri Lanka retained him in the Test squad and let him serve the ban during the Test series.

A third suspension means Wanindu is set to miss eight games. That is too costly affair. Furthermore, with the T-20 World Cup two years away, it is sensible to hand over the captaincy to a new leader at the start of the cycle.

Wanindu is perhaps Sri Lanka’s biggest attraction in T-20 cricket at the moment, He was just misguided. It’s a pity that there was no one to give him sound advice on how to move about things. People keep a close eye on how you move about things. Everything is good when you are winning, but when you lose, it’s hell. As Abraham Lincoln said, ‘victory has a thousand fathers, defeat is an orphan.’

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Jaffna Kings beat Kandy Falcons in seven over game

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Jaffna Kings defeated Kandy Falcons by four wickets in a  seven overs per side match played at the RPICS in Colombo.

Brief scores:
Kandy Falcons 78/5 in 7 overs [Dinesh Chandimal 21, Nohammad Harris 30, Angelo Mathews 11; Jason Behrendorff  3-10, Asitha Fernando 1-19, Azmatullah Omarzai 1-20] lost to Jafffna Kings 79/6 in 5.5 overs [Avishka Fernando 16, Charith Asalanka 26, Azmatullah Omarzai 24* ; Angelo Mathews 2-22, Dasun Shanaka 1-26, Wanidu Hasaranga 2-18] by four wickets

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