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Cricket’s most memorable 30 days



The Wills Cricket World Cup got underway on the 14th of February and 30 days later Sri Lanka were crowned champions.

by Rex Clementine

February 14th; what’s so special about that date? Well, it’s the feast day of St. Valentine. But for cricket buffs, their most memorable 30 days in the sport began on a day like this 25 years ago. In 1996, it was on the 14th of February the Wills Cricket World Cup got underway and 30 days later Sri Lanka were crowned champions.

Not many had predicted Sri Lanka making it to the semis leave alone winning the championship. But this was a campaign where they did little wrong.

Despite limited bowling resources, Sri Lanka’s policy of chasing any total stood in good stead with Sanath Jayasuriya firing and Aravinda de Silva coming up with crucial match winning knocks.  When nothing worked, the lower middle order hung in there, stitched enough runs which were defended so brilliantly.

The charm of Sri Lankan players saw them winning many fans all over the world. Everyone supports the underdog  and Arjuna Ranatunga’s side had plenty of them; the whole of Gaddafi Stadium in the final. The team was brilliantly led as well; not just on the field but off it as well.

Ranatunga admonishing an overjoyed Kumar Dharmasena after Clive Lloyd awarded the semi-final to Sri Lanka with some 100,000 fans rioting remains one of the iconic images of the sport. So does the stumping of Sachin Tendulkar by Rumesh Kaluwithara, probably the greatest stumping in the history of Sri Lankan cricket. As long as Sachin batted, India were sailing smooth but once he was expertly stumped, the wicket misbehaved and India crumbled.

Diplomatic ties between Sri Lanka and Australia was stained after Australia’s refusal to honour their fixture in Colombo. West Indies followed suit. Both teams wanted the games to be shifted to Madras. The Sri Lankan government came up with an offer to airlift both teams from Madras and to be sent back to the south Indian city straight after the game. The suggestion was turned down.

Board President Ana Punchihewa had to fight tooth and nail to ensure that points from these two games weren’t split. Both West Indies and Australia wanted points shared but Punchihewa with the help of tournament chief Jagmohan Dalmiya ensured that Sri Lanka  got full points

There was anger among fans. One of them put out  a banner;

 ‘Aussie PM is Keating

Aussies are cheating.’

Arjuna got under the skin of Aussies. After being the first team to qualify for the finals, he was asked which team he preferred in the finals – Australia or West Indies. Arjuna said, ‘Bring on the Aussies.’ On the day of the final, he sent word to the Aussie camp as well calling Warne an overrated bowler.

George Steuart Travels having realized that there will be lot of Sri Lankans wanting to attend the final, arranged a chartered flight and tickets were selling fast. Sunil Wettimuny, who scored Sri Lanka’s first ever World Cup half-century in 1975 was the pilot of the aircraft.

The team was scheduled to fly back home the day after the final but on the insistence of some players they flew down the same night on the chartered flight. Some Ministers and well wishers readily gave up their seats. Some of the happenings on that flight can not be put on print.

There are few functions organized to celebrate the occasion. There’s one happening on the 17th of March in Colombo and there’s another in Jaffna on the 26th of  March. The next day – on the 27th, the World Cup winners will be involved in a game in Jaffna.  A lot to look forward  to over the next 30 days.

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IPL 2023 rule change: teams will name their playing XI after the toss



IPL captains this year will walk out to the toss with two XIs handy

Captains in IPL 2023 will walk in with two different team sheets before handing in their final XI after the toss. That is one of the significant tweaks from the last season in the IPL’s playing conditions, which will soon be shared with the teams. The change, the IPL said in an internal note listing the various changes to playing conditions, would allow franchises to pick their best XIs based on whether they end up batting or bowling, the appropriate impact player included.

“Currently the captains have to exchange the teams before the toss,” the note, seen by ESPNcricinfo, said. “This has been changed to exchange of teams immediately post the toss, to enable teams to choose the best XI depending on whether they are batting or bowling first. It will also assist the teams to plan for the impact player.”

The IPL thus becomes the second T20 franchise tournament after the SA20 to allow teams to announce their XI post the toss. In the SA20, which recently staged its inaugural season, teams put 13 names on the team sheet initially before announcing their final XI after the toss. Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith, the SA20’s tournament director, had also said then that the move was designed to “lessen the impact of the toss” and allow a level-playing playing field based on the conditions.

The IPL has adopted a similar thought process now, with another key factor being neutralising the effect of dew, which has traditionally had a big impact at some venues in India, with teams bowling second adversely impacted.

While the toss will still matter, it should not be a case of “win toss, win match” in certain conditions with the new rule. For example, if a team that wanted to bat and then defend a total on a slow track in turning conditions is forced to bowl first, it can play an extra spinner in the starting XI, and then replace a specialist bowler with a batter in the second innings to help with the run-chase.

Other IPL playing conditions tweaks

Over rate penalty of only four fielders outside the 30-yard circle for every over not completed in the allocated time. Unfair movement of the wicketkeeper will result in a dead ball and 5 penalty runs. Unfair movement by a fielder will result in a dead ball and 5 penalty runs.


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Litton, Tamim make light work of small chase after Mahmud’s maiden five-for



Tamim Iqbal and Litton Das never gave Ireland a chance

Openers Litton Das and Tamim Iqbal made light work of a 102-run target as Bangladesh beat Ireland by ten wickets in the third ODI in Sylhet and completed a 2-0 series win. The visitors were bowled out for 101 in 28.1 overs after the Bangladesh fast bowlers took all ten wickets in an innings for the first time in the format.

The short chase was enlivened by Tamim and Litton, who put on an exhibition of strokeplay, finishing the game in just 13.1 overs, Bangladesh’s second-shortest chase in ODIs. After Bangladesh beat Ireland by a record margin of runs in the first ODI, this was also their first ten-wicket win in ODIs.

A small crowd turned up at the picturesque Sylhet venue on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan starting, and went home shortly after sunset. Ireland’s 101 broke a sequence of five successive 300-plus totals by the side batting first on this ground.

Hasan Mahmud’s maiden five-wicket haul, Taskin Ahmed’s three-wicket burst and Ebadot Hossain’s two-for summed up the absolute dominance by the Bangladesh fast bowlers. The spinners were needed for only four overs in all with Shakib Al Hasan not getting a chance to bowl for only the third time in his ODI career. It was a day out for the quicks on the hard and bouncy Sylhet surface, a rarity among grounds in Bangladesh. The conditions prompted the team management to pick six bowlers including the three seamers.

Mahmud removed openers Stephen Doheny and Paul Stirling in a disciplined opening burst. Doheny was caught behind for 8 after scratching around for 20 balls before Stirling, dropped on 5, got to 7 before Mahmud trapped him lbw in the ninth over. The skiddy fast bowler soon picked up his third when he trapped Harry Tector lbw later in the same over. Taskin got captain Andy Balbirnie caught at first slip for just 6 as Ireland collapsed to 26 for 4 before the first powerplay was up.

Then came their only partnership of note. Lorcan Tucker and Curtis Campher added 42 runs for the fifth wicket, which effectively helped Ireland reach the three-figure mark. Campher top-scored with 36, while Tucker made 28, the only two double-figure scores in the innings.

But it was soon over. Ebadot’s in-dipper had Tucker lbw. Next ball, Ebadot clean-bowled George Dockrell for a golden duck as Ireland slipped to 68 for 6.Taskin then took a brace in his seventh over, first getting Andy McBrine to top-edge a quick bouncer before Adair inside-edged his second ball onto the stumps.

Campher was the ninth wicket that fell, top-edging Mahmud towards fine leg. Taskin took a comfortable catch, celebrating the younger team-mate’s first four-wicket haul. It soon became five when Mahmud trapped Graham Hume lbw for 3.

Tamim started the chase with a slashed four over point, before pasting the Ireland fast bowlers for boundaries through cover and square-leg. Most of Litton’s boundaries came through the covers, including a back-foot punch that looked scrumptious from every angle. Left-arm spinner Matthew Humphreys then went for two expensive overs, before the Bangladesh opening pair calmed down briefly.

Tamim lofted Humphreys for a straight six in his third over, before Litton drove Campher through the covers. Then he struck two fours off Humphreys to reach his ninth ODI fifty, before Tamim hit the winning runs.

Brief scores:

Bangladesh 102 for 0 (Litton Das 50*, Tamim Iqbal 41*) beat Ireland 101 (Curtis Campher 36, Lorcan Tucker 28, Hasan Mahmud 5-32, Taskin Ahmed 3-26, Ebadot Hossain 2-29) by ten wickets


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AA Sponsors 68th National Billiard Championship



President AAC Dhammika Attygalle hands over the sponsorship to the Secretary of the B & SASL Kumar Lanerolle in the presence of P.H. Liyanage – Billiard Chairman AAC, Lasitha Gunaratne – Exco Member - AAC and Member of the National Sports Council, Devapriya Hettiarachchi – Secretary AAC and Anton Kandiah – Treasurer of the B & SASL and Billiard Secretary of the AAC.

The Automobile Association of Ceylon (AAC) will sponsor the 68th National Billiard Championship, conducted by the Billiards and Snooker Association of Sri Lanka (B & SASL) this year.

The Automobile Association of Ceylon established in 1904 is the oldest Motoring Organization in Sri Lanka,and is afiliated to the Federation Internationale De L’ Automobile, world largest Mobility Organization in Geneva, which has 150 countries under its umbrella. AAC’s prime object is to make all Road users safe.

AAC conducts annual Billiard and Snooker Tournaments for its members and also takes part in the inter-club tournaments in order to promote the cue sports. In the past, AAC members have excelled in several National Billiard and Snooker Tournaments and brought glory to the association.

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