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Chatara, Ervine and Raza lead Zimbabwe into Super 12s



Zimbabwe had not played in a major ICC tournament in six years coming into this T20 World Cup, but they announced themselves as a team on the comeback trail as they marched into the Super 12s. Craig Ervine led with bat and in the field, as he anchored the Zimbabwean chase after managing his bowlers with pinpoint precision to keep Scotland to a gettable score, while Tendai Chatara and Sikandar Raza also made their experience count with telling contributions. This was only the 11th time in 55 attempts that Zimbabwe had won a T20I while chasing.

Asked to field first, Zimbabwe never allowed Scotland to get away from them. Chatara set the tone with a wicket in his first over and finished with figures of 2 for 14 in his four overs. He was well supported by Zimbabwe’s spin trio, who conceded only 46 runs in the eight overs they bowled. George Munsey’s half-century held Scotland together but their highest partnership was just 40 runs – for the third-wicket. Scotland also lacked the sort of turbocharged innings that Raza played to break the back of the chase.

Zimbabwe were nervy in reply and were 7 for 2 and 42 for 3 before Ervine and Raza put on 64 for the fourth wicket. Ervine dropped anchor and scored his sixth T20I fifty, and his first at a World Cup, and by the time he was dismissed in the 17th over, Zimbabwe were within touching distance of a win.

If Scotland sensed an opening when Ervine fell with 14 needed off the last three overs, Milton Shumba and Ryan Burl shut the door, rotating the strike calmly and finishing the job in just nine balls. Burl hit the winning runs in the 19th over when he lofted Safyaan Sharif over mid-on for four Victory with more than an over remaining ensured Zimbabwe topped their group. They will join Group 2 in the Super12s, which includes their neighbours South Africa, India and Pakistan.

Zimbabwe’s fielding has not always held up in pressure moments but they were committed to cause in this match. When Michael Jones sliced the last ball of Chatara’s opening over over cover, Raza ran back from the ring and took the catch over his shoulder as he tumbled onto the turf, to give Zimbabwe their first incision. Three overs later, Matthew Cross pulled a Richard Ngarava short ball in the direction of Wessly Madhevere at midwicket. Madhevere had to launch himself to his left and took the catch in full flight to leave Scotland 24 for 2 in the fifth over.

Later in the innings, Milton Shumba was down on his haunches to take a thigh-high catch off a slog-sweep to dismiss Richie Berrington and got low down on the boundary to take the catch that ended George Munsey’s painstaking innings. And Luke Jongwe plucked a chance out of the sky in the final over to send back Calum MacLeod.

Scotland were held together by Munsey, who struck seven fours in the first 22 balls he faced with an array of strokes around the wicket. Munsey brought out the flick and the pull, the cut, and three exquisite drives off the Zimbabwean seamers. He hit over pitched deliveries from Blessing Muzarabani through mid-off with power and then smoked Richard Ngarava past extra-cover.

After scoring 33 runs off his first 22 balls, Munsey scored only 21 runs off his next 29 as Zimbabwe’s bowlers squeezed through the middle overs and made it difficult for Scotland to get them away. Zimbabwe bowled nine boundary-less overs as Raza used the variations he has developed in tandem with Sean Williams’ left-arm spin and then Madhevere’s offspin. Chatara and Muzarabani, who were also used in that period, stuck to back-of-a-length balls that did not present any opportunities for big hitting. Between the eighth and 16th overs, Scotland scored only 48 runs.

With a small total to defend, Scotland could not have asked for a better start, though Zimbabwe’s technique was to blame for their early losses. Regis Chakabva shuffled across and played down the wrong line to Brad Wheal’s third delivery and was given out lbw. He reviewed but ball-tracking showed the impact was in line and the ball would have gone on to clip the bails. In the next over, Madhevere was presented with a juicy half-volley but swung hard with no footwork and played onto his own stumps. Zimbabwe were 7 for 2 in the second over.

Scotland did not hit a single six in their innings, and there were none in the first 31.5 overs of the match before Raza, the man who seems to be able to do almost anything at the moment, sent MacLeod over the midwicket boundary and barely broke a sweat. Two overs later, he did it again when he sent Michael Leask over the covers. Before Raza’s first six, Zimbabwe required 63 runs off 49 deliveries; after his second one 43 runs off 41 balls, which is how much his innings allowed pressure to evaporate from Zimbabwe’s effort.

Brief Scores:

Scotland 132/6 in 20 overs (George Munsey 54, Callum MacLeod 25; Tendai Chatara 2-14, Richard Ngarava 2-28) lost to Zimbabwe 133/5 in 18.3 overs (Craig Ervine 58, Sikandar Raza 40; Josh Davey 2-16) by 5 wickets.


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Six member committee appointed to inquire into Sri Lanka Cricket Team’s conduct in Australia




Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Roshan Ranasinghe has appointed a six member committee headed by Retired Supreme Court Judge Kusala Sarojini Weerawardena to inquire into the incidents reported against some members of the Sri Lanka Cricket team that participated at the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.



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My best knock for Sri Lanka – Asalanka



By Rex Clementine

If you had no idea why Roy Dias identified Charith Asalanka as a Test captain in the waiting some seven years ago, there was proof for his claims at Pallekele on Wednesday as the diminutive left-hander from Elpitiya pulled off a stunning run chase against Afghanistan.Sri Lanka chased down a target of 314 in the last over with Asalanka finishing things off in style with a pulled six. What’s so special with the win is that it is Sri Lanka’s highest successful run chase ever at home.

“I was struggling with cramps. The heat was too much in the afternoon.

Once Dunith came in, I told him not to do too much running and target the gaps. There was a good partnership with Dasun too before that and that helped us to get back into the game,” Asalanka noted.

Most players when they get into the Sri Lankan cricket set up they get themselves tattooed and buy fancy cars and luxury apartments. Asalanka has remained grounded and he is very much close to his roots at Elpitiya.

In fact, he married his childhood sweetheart, whom he fell in love with at the age of 15. The pair met at the school bus when Asalanka was playing under-17 cricket and despite money and fame the captain in waiting hasn’t forgotten his past. Asalanka took a break middle of the series to get married on the 28th of November, the day of their tenth anniversary of falling in love. However, there was no honeymoon as Asalanka had to return to Pallekele for the rest of the series.

His wife is an English teacher and that gives us hope that press conferences are going to be interesting again although the good old days of Sanga will never come.Asalanka received a scholarship to Richmond College after passing the Grade Five scholarship and he is known as a sharp thinker of the game.

“First game the ball swung a lot. It was a grassy pitch. We knew this wicket was not going to do much for the bowlers. The main thing we wanted was to bat 50 overs. Everyone contributed from top to the lower middle order, and it was great to watch.”

Sri Lanka have a settled top order when it comes to white ball cricket and the middle order could be built on Asalanka who can accelerate and rebuild an innings. “Dasun is the one who told me that I’d be batting at number five and to feel comfortable. I was going to get the long rope. I had never batted at number five before that and glad I have cemented my place now.”

“This is my best innings in international cricket. Dunith Wellalage was outstanding as well. Afghanistan have a very experienced side. They have lot of players who are involved in league cricket. Dunith showed lot of maturity.”

“We had identified that Rashid Khan was their key players. We didn’t want to take risks against him. We got out for some good balls. We made sure that we didn’t give wickets to him, and it got easier to score runs.

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Richmond, Trinity clash for Under 19 Division I Tier ‘A’ cricket title  



by Reemus Fernando  

The stage is set for a thrilling climax when unbeaten Richmond meet formidable Trinity in the final of the Under 19 Division I Tier ‘A’ cricket tournament at the Thurstan College ground today.

There are two factors indicating to a thrilling climax. Both teams know what it takes to win a championship title as they have players who have featured in finals before. It was not long ago that a few players in the Trinity team guided their Under 17 team to joint champions title of the Division I cricket tournament of that age category. The team from Galle have in their ranks a number of players who had to be content with the runner up position after reaching the final of this tournament during the last season.

For the final, Trinity are likely to stick to the same team which won the semi –final against their arch rivals St. Anthony’s at the same venue early this week. During this tournament captain Rahal Amarasinghe has seen Manula Kularathne, Theeraka Ranatunga, Dinusha Pieris  and Janith Warnakula sharing most of the batting responsibilities for the team’s success.

In the bowling department, Ranatunga (with over 20 wickets) has topped the wicket takers list. Dinuka Thennakoon, Tharana Wimaladharma and Manula Kularathne are the others shouldering most of the wicket taking duties.

During the semi-final Ranatunga was joined by skipper Amarasinghe, Peiris, Wathila Udara and Vibhavith Ehelepola to play crucial roles with the bat, while the former and deputy skipper Ehelepola took two wickets each to contain St. Anthony’s to 202 runs.  A prominent feature of Richmond during this tournament was the dominant role played by their Sri Lanka Under 19 player Malsha Tharupathi. Tharupathi produced outstanding all-round feats to beat defending champions St. Joseph’s and St. Benedict’s in the quarter-final and the semi-final.

They have a strong batting line up from skipper Tharinda Nirmal, Helitha Edirisinghe, Thamindu Pradeeptha, Kavindu Nirmana, wicketkeeper batsman Janeth Kaushal to Tharupathi.

While Tharupathi is easily their top wicket taker, Nalaka Jaywardena, Nirmal and Sharon Abishek have all shared bowling responsibilities. Maheesha de Silva and Kaveesha Induwara have been economical with the new ball.

How they reached the final 

Trinity beat St. Sebastian’s, Moratuwa and St. Anthony’s, Katugastota during the knockout stage after completing their first round matches as the third placed team in their group. They won five out of the eight matches during that phase.

Richmond have remained unbeaten during this tournament. They won all their eight matches in the first round to be the champions in their group. During the knockout stage they ousted defending champions St. Joseph’s and St. Benedict’s in a row to reach their second consecutive final.


Richmond (from): Tharinda Nirmal  (Captain), Kavindu Nirmana (Vice Captain), Ruwan Jayawardena, Janeth Kaushal, Maheesha De Silva, Malsha Tharupathi, Sharon Abhishek, Thamindu Pradeeptha, Chehan Subasinghe, Sihath Ramanayake, Sasindu De Silva, Seneth Sisan, Kaveesha Induwara, Manuja Dulneth, Helith Edirisinghe, K.K Yuri, Pubudu Mihiranga,  Charuka Gunasekara. 


Nuwan Jayasinghe (Master in Charge), Lakmal de Silva (Head Coach), Umal Udayanga (Asst. Coach), Lahiru Madhuwantha (Asst. Coach) 

Trinity (from):  Rahal Amarasinghe (Captain), Vibhavith Ehelepola (Vice Captain), Theeraka Ranatunga, Supun Waduge, Manula Kularatne, Tharana Wimaladharma, Kusal Wijetunga, Dinusha Pieris, Dinuka Tennakoon, Jayavi Liyanagama, Janith Warnakula, Malith Rathnayake, Lakvin Abeysinghe, Wathila Udara, Yewan Hulangamuwa, Viduka Dhammage. 


Brian Senaratne (Master in Charge), Naveen Ekanayake (Head Coach),  Lakshitha Alahakoon (Asst. Coach) 

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