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Cool Kapp keeps her nerve to take South Africa over the line



Fending off the opposition with the tail, Marizanne Kapp kept her nerve in a crucial cameo of 34 to clinch a narrow two-wicket win for South Africa in a low-scoring final-over World Cup thriller against New Zealand in Hamilton on Thursday. Having made a strong comeback with the ball at the death to restrict the hosts to 228 despite a well-paced 93 from skipper Sophie Devine, South Africa themselves faced a collapse after fifties from Laura Wolvaardt and Sune Luus. But Kapp’s experience came to the fore, amidst regular wickets, to propel South Africa to the second spot in the points table with this fourth successive win.

Despite losing the dangerous Lizelle Lee early to a run out in a cautious start, Wolvaardt dropped anchor and forged two defining partnerships that kept the chase on track for as long as she stayed at the crease. With Tasmin Brits, she added 48 runs for the second wicket stand, after South Africa posted 33/1 from their powerplay. It was during her 88-run third-wicket partnership with Luus that South Africa seemed to be taking control and cruising in their modest chase. The pair took the team past the 100-run mark in the 25th over – same as New Zealand – before the stylish opener raised a third successive fifty in the World Cup, off 72 balls, with a drive.

The duo picked up pace soon after, taking the side to 159/2 at drinks but Amelia Kerr’s twin strikes prompted a mini collapse of 3 for 9 to turn the chase on its head. The spinner first broke through the threatening partnership by trapping Wolvaardt plumb in front of the stumps after a 94-ball 67. In the following over, she ended Mignon du Preez’s stay in her 150th ODI prematurely by having her caught behind on just 1. Luus got to her fifty right after, but also ended up sending a faint nick the keeper’s way as South Africa slipped to a precarious 170/5, needing a run-a-ball 59 thereafter.

With the equation down to 31 off 30, another mini collapse ensued when Mackay struck twice in her successive overs to take out Chloe Tryon (14) and Trisha Chetty (3). But Kapp hit back to back boundaries off Tahuhu in the interim to keep up with the asking rate. Devine brought herself back into the attack for the penultimate over when South Africa needed 14 off 12, and knocked over Ismail’s stumps with a slower one but regaining strike, Kapp found two timely boundaries to take her side over the line from a position they ideally shouldn’t have found themselves in to begin with.

Earlier in the day, Devine put on two handy partnerships – worth 81 with Amelia for the second wicket and another of 80 runs with Maddy Green for the fourth – but the hosts fluffed up the death-overs acceleration to fold for a sub-par 228 despite being in a position of strength at 198/4 when the skipper fell seven short of her second World Cup century. Credit due to the pacers, led by Ismail and Khaka, who tightened their lines and lengths, and used the slower ones to good effect to prompt a fatal collapse of 6 for 30.

Ismail forced New Zealand to rethink when she bowled Suzie Bates through the game with a ripper in just the third over after the hosts elected to bat first. Runs dried up as Devine and Amelia sought to stabalize the innings, taking New Zealand to just 30/1 after powerplay. However, erratic bowling from the visitors ensued and Devine started to free her arms more regularly. South Africa were either too short or gave too much room as Devine took full toll to push the run-rate up. Having taken 13 deliveries to open her account, Kerr also caught up and even briefly went on to out-score her captain into the 40s.

Against the run of play, though, Luus trapped Amelia lbw on 42 and three balls later Khaka had Amy Satterthwaite edging behind to leave Devine to rebuild once again. From 88/3 after 20, it took the hosts another five overs to reach triple figures while Devine raised her personal fifty, off 61 deliveries, with the second of the back to back boundaries in the same over.

The pair ticked along as New Zealand upped their scoring once again but Green’s untimely run out gave South Africa an opening going into the death overs. Devine, who marched into the 90s with a mighty slog over long-on ropes off Marizanne Kapp, was yorked by Khaka in the very next over, reducing them to 198 for 5. From there on, the South African pace battery did not let the lower-order breathe. Ismail got through the defences of Katey Martin and La Tahuhu, Kapp bounced back to claim two in two in the 46th over and Ismail polished it in the 48th with her third.

Brief scores:

New Zealand

228 all out in 47.5 overs (Sophie Devine 93, Amelia Kerr 42; Shabnim Ismail 3-27, Ayabonga Khaka 3-31) lost to South Africa 229/8 in 49.3 overs (Laura Wolvaardt 67, Sune Luus 51, Marizanne Kapp 34*; Amelia Kerr 3-50, Frances Mackay 2-49) by 2 wickets


Joes and HFC win Under-20 basketball titles



Due to the pandemic, there wasn’t much sporting activities in schools for two years and basketball players showed lot of enthusiasm as their sport was in full swing since April holidays. Sri Lanka Schools Basketball Association despite many challenges successfully conducted the All Island Under-20 basketball tournament at Sugathadasa Stadium this week. Girls and boys in ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ Divisions competed over a month and there were some thrilling encounters.St. Joseph’s College, Darley Road and Holy Family Convent, Bambalapitiya cruised to victory in the ‘A’ Division final. While St. Joseph’s beat Royal College in the boys’ final, HFC overcame Mahamaya College, Kandy. Both teams cruised to victory and were hardly troubled throughout the campaign. Interestingly, both teams are coached by the same individuals with Roshan Randima as Head Coach and Shane Daniel as his deputy. Their teams over the last decade or so have come up with consistent performances and have always remained among the top three.

St. Joseph’s took an early 24-09 lead in the first quarter and although Royal contained them in the second quarter conceding just seven points, they themselves could not score big. Both teams scored 16 points each in the third quarter and Royal matched St. Joseph’s skills in the final quarter but the damage done in the first quarter proved to be costly as Joes won by 16 points with the final score being 68-52.Mahamaya scored 14 points compared to HFC’s 16 in the first quarter in the girls’ final but from thereon HFC were unstoppable winning by a comfortable 31 points. The final score was 70-39.

In the boys’ category, St. Joseph’s captain Shehan Fernando was adjudged the Most Valuable Player while Keith Costa also from St. Joseph’s was declared the Best Defensive Player. Royal’s Yuganan Baskaran was named Best Offensive Plyaer. In the girls’ segment, Onela Dunuwille and Minoli Direkze of HFC emerged as Most Valuable Player and Best Defensive Player respectively. Chithera Samarakoon of Mahamaya was the Best Offensive Player. The tournament was sponsored by Gaja Group. The Group’s CEO Gayath Jayasinghe, a former Sri Lanka basketball player was the Chief Guest.

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Sri Lanka Athletics to seek private sector support to send team for World Junior Championships



Ambagamuwa Central hurdler Dhanuka Dharshana has bettered the World Junior Championship qualifying standard on several occasions.

Junior Nationals Athletics Championships rescheduled to June 7-10

by Reemus Fernando

Sri Lanka Athletics will seek support from the private sector to meet the massive costs involved in sending all athletes reaching qualifying standards for the World Junior Championships which will be held from August 1-6 in Cali, Colombia.The track and field governing body, which met this week to reschedule the Junior National Championship which was postponed due to the curfew imposed on May 9, also discussed ways of finding funds to send all athletes who reach qualifying standards for the World Junior Championships.

Sri Lanka Athletics has been sending all athletes reaching qualifying standards for the World Junior events in recent years. But the massive cost of airfare in the midst of the prevaling economic crisis has made it difficult for the sport’s governing body to bear the full cost involved in sending a strong team.So far nine athletes have reached qualifying standards for the biennial event and there is opportunity for other athletes to reach entry standards for the event when the postponed Junior National Athletics Championship is held from June 7 to 10 at the Sugathadasa Stadium.

“There is a massive cost involved in sending athletes for the Cali event. With the increased airfare it will cost around 1.5 million rupees per athlete. If we opt to send only the top two athletes and those who can find funds by their own it will not be fair by the others who reach qualifying standards. Because of that we will seek private sector support to send the full team,” a senior official of Sri Lanka Athletics told The Island on Friday.

Earlier there were plans to send a pruned down team but a couple of athletes have obtained private sponsorships for their travel compelling athletics officials to find sponsorships for others as well.Of the nine athletes who have reached qualifying standards so far, four are from three schools in Colombo.  At least one athlete from outstations and an athlete from a school in Colombo have received the support of sponsors to meet their expenses during the meet.

“We will request leading private sector firms to support junior athletes. We will also seek the support of friendly sports federations like Sri Lanka Cricket to support us at this difficult moment,” said the official.

Tharushi Karunaratne (800m, 400m), Jayeshi Uththara (400m) and Amesha Hettiarachchi (400m hurdles) in the girls’ category and Sithum Jayasundara (400m), Dhanuka Dharshana (400m hurdles), Kaveesha Bandara (110m hurdles), Pasindu Malshan (triple jump), Hirusha Hashen (long jump) and Rumesh Tharanga  (javelin throw) in the boys’ category are the athletes who have reached qualifying standards for the Cali event. Incidentally, Tharushi Karunaratne and Sithum Jayasundara will be taking part in their second consecutive World Junior Championships after having represented the country at the last edition in Nairobi. Sri Lanka did well to reach the final in the mix relay in Nairobi where they were ranked fifth with a time of 3:26.39 secs.

Junior National Championships from June 7 to 10

The Junior National Athletics Championship which was postponed after the morning session on May 9 will commence from where it stopped on June 7. According to athletics officials the events which could not be completed on May 9 will be held on June 7 and there will not be any changes to the schedule of the next three days.

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Shoriful ruled out of SL Tests with wrist injury



Bangladesh’s injury woes continue as pace bowler Shoriful Islam has now been ruled out of the remainder of the ongoing Test series against Sri Lanka due to a wrist injury. Shoriful is the latest addition to the hosts’ injury list as they earlier lost Taskin Ahmed (shoulder) and Mehedy Hasan (finger).

“Shoriful Islam had a contusion of the right hand while batting. After the fourth day’s play an X-ray was carried out which has revealed a fracture on the base of the 5th metacarpal bone,” physio Bayjedul Islam said in a statement on Thursday.

“Such injuries tend to take around three weeks to heal followed by a couple of week’s rehab. He will not be available to play for four to five weeks.”

Shoriful was retired out on Day 4 after pacer Kasun Rajitha’s short delivery hit him on the gloves. Bangladesh were forced to end their innings at 465 following his injury.

Cricbuzz has learnt that Shoriful is unlikely to be available for the Test series against West Indies as well. Bangladesh will leave on June 6 to take part in the full fledged tour of West Indies, comprising two Tests, three ODIs and as many T20Is.

Meanwhile, the BCB has retained the same squad for the second Test against Sri Lanka that will begin on May 23. The board opted to not name a replacement for Shoriful since they have a big squad to pick from.

“We did not take any replacement for Shoriful as we have got a big squad in hand,” BCB chief selector Minhajul Abedin told Cricbuzz. ‘’We have to see fitness of Hasan Mahmud (who was in discussion as a possible replacement of Shoriful) and though we are not considering him in this series, if he is fit we might pick him for the Bangladesh ‘A’ team tour of West Indies.”


Mominul Haque (C), Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Litton Kumar Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Nayeem Hasan, Taijul Islam, Syed Khaled Ahmed, Yasir Ali Chowdhury, Quazi Nurul Hasan Sohan, Musaddek Hossain, Ebadot Hossain Chowdhury, Shohidul Islam, Rezaur Rahman Raja.

( Cricbuzz)

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