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Danushka Gunathilaka run out – a bone of contention

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by Rex Clementine

Run outs over the years have played their part to decorate our beautiful game. There have been some famous ones; Allan Donald being run out in Birmingham to deny South Africa a place in the 1999 World Cup final and Sir Don Bradman being left stranded on 299 after his batting partner – Australia’s last man “Pud” Thurlow was run out in a Test match against South Africa in Adelaide in 1932 are just a few. The Lanka Premier League saw some high profile run outs as well.

Dambulla Viikings were knocked out in the semis by eventual champions Jaffna Stallions after their skipper Dasun Shanka attempted a cheeky single to short third man. Then in the final, the tournament’s highest run getter Danushka Gunathilaka was run out making several people to question the mode of his dismissal and whether the umpires could have done anything more to reinstate the batsman.

It has been a debate that has been widely discussed in cricket circles mainly because Galle Gladiators run chase was derailed soon after Gunathilaka’s departure and eventually it was an easy win for Jaffna Stallions.

The incident happened in the second over of the innings. Suranga Lakmal was bowling round the wicket to the left-handed batsman and he appealed for leg before wicket after Gunathilaka missed a flick shot to a full delivery. Lakmal had his back turned to the batsman as he was appealing and  he had crossed onto the other side of the pitch – the lane in which Gunathilaka was running. The batsman was running blind as well looking at the ball and the two collided.

Jaffna Stallions skipper Thisara Perera was cool as a cucumber.  He  collected the ball, sprinted to the non-striker’s end and threw the stumps down before Gunathilaka made it.

What happened was an unfortunate incident and there is no law in cricket  where a batsman could be reinstated after such an incident – it’s a funny game they say.

It certainly was no obstruction. Lakmal simply didn’t see Gunathilaka and vice-versa.

However, had Gunathilaka stood his ground after he collided with Lakmal and still if Perera had taken the bails off and appealed, then the umpires could have asked the question from the fielding side’s captain if he wanted  to go ahead with the appeal. In most cases, captains withdraw their appeals. Thisara Perera would have probably done the same.

But the problem was Gunathilaka attempted to complete the run and therefore the umpires had Hobson’s  Choice. Both on-field umpires – Ruchira Palliyaguru and Kumar Dharmasena are International Cricket Council umpires and they are well equipped to deal with situations like these.

It was a shame that Gunathilaka had to go that way.  Boy, what a tournament he had. His 476 runs came at an average  of 60 and Strike Rate of 145. No other batsman even managed to reach the 300 run mark in the competition. He is certainly going to have a massive impact  not just in T-20 cricket but ODIs as well in time to come. If only he can stay out of trouble, we are going to hear a lot more of Gunathilaka’s exploits soon.



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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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Jaiswal and Gill wrap up series in style for India

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India had plenty to cheer about in Harare [Cricinfo]

Zimbabwe’s most-assured batting effort wasn’t enough to mount a challenge against India’s young IPL stars. Yashasvi Jaiswal and Shubman Gill made light work of a 153-run target, sauntering home in just 15.2 overs in a sensational exhibition of intent-laden batting of the kind we hadn’t seen in the series so far.

Where Zimbabwe hit all of 10 fours in their 20 overs, Jaiswal and Gill smashed as many in their first four overs en route a ten-wicket thumping that delivered an unassailable 3-1 lead for India with one more game to play on on Sunday.

Zimbabwe had lost at least two wickets in the powerplay in each of the three T20Is in the series before this game. Today, though, Wesley Madhevere and Tadiwansabe Marumani rode their luck to add 63 in 8.4 overs to give them a platform.

In the third over, Marumani was dropped by Shivam Dube at mid-on while on 3. He also benefited from an overthrow that went to the boundary in the same over, and Marumani appeared to change gears after the reprieve by going after debutant Tushar Deshpande, who conceded 21 off his first two overs. Gill quickly turned to spin inside the powerplay and they managed to rein in the scoring; eventually an effort to up the ante against India’s part-time bowlers, who needed to fill the fifth-bowler’s quota, got Marumani.

Off Abhishek Sharma’s fourth ball, he looked to pull and ended up hitting it towards the longest part of the boundary where Rinku Singh was waiting at deep midwicket. This allowed Gill to bring on Dube from the other end in a bid to get the fifth-bowler’s quota out of the way, but he too struck – in his first over, he had the other set batter, Madhevere, pulling a short ball to Rinku at deep square leg.

Abhishek could have had a second wicket in T20Is, but for Ruturaj Gaikwad shelving a dolly at extra cover to reprieve Brian Bennett. The missed opportunity didn’t cost India much though.

Raza needed to rescue Zimbabwe as they had suddenly lost 4 for 33 after the solid opening. Having been guilty of running out Jonathan Campbell, Raza’s industry kept the runs ticking until he flicked the switch with five overs remaining.

On 21 off 17 at that point, he launched Washington Sundar over deep midwicket for a 90-metre six, and then went after Khaleel Ahmed in his next over, hitting a four and a six. Overs 16 and 17 produced 31 as Zimbabwe charged towards 160. That they fell eight short was thanks to two excellent overs from Deshpande, who dismissed Raza for his maiden international wicket, and Khaleel. Zimbabwe had a competitive, if not match-winning, total.

India’s chase was kickstarted with Jaiswal hitting three fours off left-arm seamer Richard Ngavara in the first over. Jaiswal was in no mood to stop there, hitting Tendai Chatara for four more fours off his first over, the third of the innings. The seamers kept giving him width and he kept crashing them away through point, alternating between hitting them along the ground and playing the full-blooded cuts. India raised their fifty in just 3.5 overs with Jaiswal contributing 39.

Jaiswal got to his half-century off 29 balls, and then unfurled one of the shots of the day when he sent Raza inside-out over extra cover. Having been beaten in flight, he quickly adjusted to loft him through the line and bisect the tiny gap between deep cover and wide long-off.

Gill then took over, helping himself against Faraz Akram’s gentle seam-ups in a exquisite display of hitting-on-the-up. Gill’s second straight half-century, off 35 balls, was mellow in comparison to Jaiswal but effective nonetheless.

As the match raced towards the finish line, the only point of interest was if Jaiswal could get the 17 of the 18 remaining runs needed to get to a hundred. He couldn’t; ended up 93 not out, having displayed his full range in an exhilarating display reflecting the type of intent that won India the T20 World Cup last month after 17 years.

Brief scores:
India 156 for 0 in 15.2 overs (Yashaswi Jaiswal 93*, Shubman  Gill 58*) beat Zimbabwe 152 for 7 in 20 overs (Wessley Madhevere 25, Sikanda Raza 46, Tadiwanashe Marumani 32, Khaleel Ahmed 2-32, Tushar Deshpande 1-30, Washington Sundar 1-32, Abhishek Sharma 1-20, Shivam Dube 1-11) by ten wickets

[Cricinfo]

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Djokovic sets up Alcaraz rematch in Wimbledon final

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Novak Djokovic is trying to match Roger Federer's total of eight Wimbledon titles [BBC]

Novak Djokovic outclassed Italian underdog Lorenzo Musetti to reach the Wimbledon final and set up a showdown with reigning champion Carlos Alcaraz in a repeat of last year’s final.

The 37-year-old impressed as he stayed on course for a record-equalling eighth men’s singles title at Wimbledon with a 6-4 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 victory on Centre Court.

Musetti, 22, had one chance to get the break back in the final set but sent a forehand into the net and crouched down with his head in his hands, knowing the end was near.  Djokovic made sure his opponent did not get another opportunity.

Under pressure, Musetti sent a shot long before Djokovic walked to the net, knowing he had reached his 37th Grand Slam final and 10th at Wimbledon.

The Serb then moved his racquet over his shoulder and imitated playing a violin, in a gesture aimed at his six-year-old daughter Tara, with television cameras showing her grinning along.

Some fans, however, started booing, thinking Djokovic, who produced the same celebration following his win over Holger Rune in the last 16, was being disrespectful.

Alcaraz beat Djokovic in last year’s showpiece, winning 1-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-1 3-6 6-4 in a five-set epic, which lasted four hours 42 minutes and is regarded one of the best matches in the tournament’s history.

The pair meet again on Sunday in what could be another amazing chapter in Wimbledon folklore.

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