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Dialog Powers the Battle of the Saints



(L-R) Rev. Fr. Ranjith Andradi – Rector, St. Joseph’s College, Trinesh Fernando, General Counsel/Vice President, Group Legal and Regulatory, Dialog Axiata PLC, Rev. Fr. Rohitha Rodrigo – Rector, St. Peter’s College.

87th Joe-Pete next week at SSC

Sri Lanka’s premier Catholic boys’ schools, St. Joseph’s College, Colombo and St. Peter’s College, Colombo are set to battle it out for the Rev. Father Maurice J. Le Goc Trophy, on 13th & 14th December 2021, at the SSC Grounds, Colombo.

The ‘Battle of the Saints’, which is renowned for its exciting and competitive brand of cricket is the only annual two-day cricket encounter that strategically limits the first innings to 60 overs each to create greater interest and result orientation. In the 2021 encounter the lads from Darley Road will be led by Sri Lanka Under 19 Captain, the brilliant allrounder Dunith Wellalage, while the boys from Bambalapitiya will be under the captaincy of the stylish batsmen and 5th year Coloursman, Nipunaka Fonseka.

“The global pandemic has crippled the world and yet, we are fortunate to embrace a unique tradition, a game of cricket which helps protect and preserve traditions, values and history” Rev. Fr. Rohitha Rodrigo, the Rector of the hosting school, St. Peter’s College, Colombo, said. “The Joe-Pete fosters a unique sense of brotherhood, unity, peace and harmony and this year, even without spectators at the grounds the spirit will prevail. Let me express my gratitude to all who fought back with courage, discipline and responsibility during the pandemic to overcome the challenges. My sincere thanks to our Principal sponsor Dialog Axiata for their support for our inspirational brand”

Rev. Fr. Ranjith Andradi, Rector, St. Joseph’s College, Colombo, said, “We have, through divine intervention and the hard work of so many, succeeded in preparing the stage for another Joe-Pete cricket encounter which brings together a spirit of brotherhood and camaraderie that exists in an unbroken chain for generations. Our students have practiced hard, and we intend to give them this momentous opportunity to showcase their talents. I would like to thank the sponsor, Dialog Axiata and wish both teams the best of luck.”

St. Joseph’s College leads the series tally with 12 wins, their last win coming under the captaincy of Ruwantha Fernandopulle in 2008, while St. Peter’s College were the winners of the 2016 encounter under Vinu Mohotty, bringing their tally to 10 wins, which ensured the Rev. Father Maurice J. Legoc Trophy was kept securely in the trophy cabinet at Bambalapitiya.

This year due to the pandemic to ensure the health and safety of all, spectators will not be present, but it is expected that large numbers of passionate past and present students will watch safely from private, remote locations. Additionally, all the very important requirements and safety protocols of the Ministry of Health will be followed.

The highly anticipated Josephian-Peterite limited overs match played for the ‘Fr. Peter A. Pillai Memorial Trophy’ which was the first one day encounter among schools commencing in 1975, has always attracted the highest number of spectators for a school’s 50 over cricket match is scheduled to be played on the following Thursday, 16th December 2021 and will also be played behind closed doors at the same venue. The Josephian’s lead the one-day encounter 23-20 with 2 matches ending with no result.

Adding excitement to the games this year is the fact that six players – Dunith Wellalage, Shevon Daniel, Sadeesh Jayawardena from St Joseph’s and Wanuja Sahan, Danal Hemananda, Lahiru Dewatage from St Peters played against the touring Bangladesh U19 team and five of them are presently playing against the touring English juniors. Dunith Wellalage, Captain of St Joseph’s was appointed the Sri Lanka U19 Captain for both tours while Wanuja Sahan of St Peter’s and Shevon Daniel of St Joseph’s were regular match winners during the two series. The five playing in the English tour are tipped to be in the Sri Lanka squad which leaves on the 19th December for the U19 Asia Cup in The UAE and the U19 World Cup in the West Indies.

The two schools have produced many National Caps. Current Sri Lanka test skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews, Chaminda Vaas, Thisara Perera, Ashley De Silva, Michael Van Dort, Roshen Silva, Priyamal Perera and Sadeera Samarawickrama are the Josephians who represented Sri Lanka while the Peterites are Roy Dias, Rumesh Ratnayake, Vinodhan John, Amal Silva, Russel Arnold, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Malinda Warnapura and Angelo Perera.
As the principal sponsor, Dialog Axiata has made arrangements to LIVE stream the match via in the interest of all present boys, old boys, parents, supporters, well-wishers and the cricket-loving public who are encouraged to watch the match in safe and secure locations and ensure all safety protocols are maintained.

One of Sri Lanka’s largest banks, Hatton National Bank has also come forth as a co-sponsor for this year’s prestigious ‘Battle of the Saints’ encounter.
Dialog Axiata is the proud sponsor of the Sri Lanka National Cricket, Volleyball and Netball teams. The Company also has a close association with the President’s Gold Cup Volleyball, Junior Volleyball, National Junior and Senior Netball tourneys, Schools Rugby League, Knockout and Sevens tourneys, Premier Football and Paralympic sports – by powering the Army Para Games, National Para Games and the Sri Lankan contingent to the World Paralympic Games.


England aim to revive rocky title defence against Oman




Aqib Ilyas' party trick of bowling offspin to left-handers and leg breaks to right-handers has been effective enough [ICC]

The first of a three-part fightback must start here. Before England can even indulge the unthinkable – rooting for Australia to take down Scotland by a sizeable enough margin to grant them sheepish passage into the Super Eights – they must hold up their end of this monkey-paw deal with NRR-boosting victories over Oman and Namibia. Simple enough in the spreadsheets.

That Oman come first on today [13] is welcome. Three games in, they look a team on the wane, one stretched to their limits after two solid showings. A valiant Super Over defeat to Namibia and a solid start with the ball against Australia gave way to a listless display against Scotland.

The 19th-ranked team in the world are currently number one as far as drops go – a total of eight putting them bottom on the catching front in the T20 World Cup. Captain Aqib Ilyas also lamented the number of dot balls faced on Sunday, which resulted in a score of 150 for 7, which Scotland knocked off with seven wickets and all of 6.5 overs to spare.

Form does not quite go out the window for their meeting with England, no matter how much introspection the defending champions have indulged since Saturday’s defeat to Australia.  And it is Oman’s tentativeness with the bat that will give Jos Buttler’s bowlers the belief they can make amends for two less-than-convincing outings.

Buttler has put on a cheerier front this week, discarding the sterner visage he had adopted at the start of the T20 World Cup. ICC competitions demand a lot from captains when it comes to media engagements, and Buttler’s lack of enthusiasm for such duties is nothing new. So, it is fair to assume his new tact is an attempt to channel more favourable chi.

The proximity to the 2023 ODI World Cup failure makes comparisons unavoidable, and the inability to call an audible in the field against Australia speaks to similar errors in planning. David Warner and Travis Head kiboshed a prepared plan of straight lines and length from the quicks, peppering the short boundary early on. Only Jofra Archer had the wherewithal – and skill – to make adjustments, leaning on cutters to emerge relatively unscathed with an economy rate of seven. The gut feel on Will Jacks for the second over was probably indigestion.

That Australia’s pace attack took cues from Archer means analysing England’s one batting innings in two weeks is a little pointless. The collective 77 from 66 balls managed by batters three to seven was far from ideal, but understandable given the pace-off, Adam Zampa-led squeeze after Buttler and Phil Salt’s opening stand of 73. Nevertheless, improvements need to be made by the individuals – particularly Jonny Bairstow, who struck 7 from 12 deliveries before tamely hoicking one in the air – by any means necessary.

There is a sense, however, that this group – even those, like Bairstow, who were on deck for last winter’s debacle in India – have their heads well and truly in the game. Their 2022 success was ultimately forged by a similar fightback following defeat to Ireland and a washout against Australia. Though there is a little less in their control this time around, they will look to emerge from the corner for what will be a defining four days for this iteration of English white-ball cricket.

Part of the criticism Bairstow copped for his innings in Barbados was fuelled by the “demotion” of Harry Brook to number six. Moeen Ali’s floating role – which is set to continue – saw him come in ahead of Brook, who eventually got to the crease upon Moeen’s dismissal with 74 to get in just 26 deliveries. The Yorkshire wunderkind could only manage 20 from 16.

Brook has never batted higher than four in T20I cricket, and he’s only done that six times in 29 knocks. Getting him into an innings early makes sense, and No.4 seems a prime spot for him in this line-up. Whether that means dropping Bairstow down the order or altogether – unlikely for now – it feels a necessary play to ensure Brook is not wasted. It is worth noting that both times Brook has faced more than 30 deliveries, he has pocketed half-centuries at strike rates of 231.42 (against Pakistan in 2022) and 186.11 (against New Zealand in 2023).

Aqib Ilyas was refreshingly honest after the defeat against Scotland. But it is time for the Oman captain to contribute. Three innings at first drop have reaped just 34 runs from 25 deliveries, all of which have come in the first six overs. He did at least practice the positivity he preached in his last innings, striking 16 off five before being trapped lbw by Safyaan Sharif.

His party trick of bowling offspin to left-handers and leg breaks to right-handers has been effective enough. He started economically across the first two matches at Bridgetown, particularly with his 0 for 18 from four overs against Australia. But there was a rude awakening at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium when his three overs were taken for 41.

Reece Topley is likely to be brought in for his first appearance of the tournament to add some much-needed dimension to England’s bowling attack. If that is the case, it will be for Chris Jordan, with the understanding that England are set to continue with dual pace-threat of Mark Wood and Jofra Archer. The temptation to draft in Ben Duckett to add a left-hander to the XI, at the expense of Bairstow, has been resisted for now.

England (probable): Phil Salt, Jos Buttler (capt & wk), Will Jacks, Jonny Bairstow,  Harry Brook,  Liam Livingstone,  Moeen Ali,  Jofra Archer . Mark Wood,  Adil Rashid,  Reece Topley

Oman need a refresh of their batting after a series of costly false starts. Their lead batter Ayaan Khan, with 92 runs at an average of 46.00, has been operating at six but is surely due for a promotion.

Oman (probable):  Pratik Athavale (wk),  Naseem Khushi,  Aqib Ilyas (capt),  Zeeshan Maqsood,  Ayaan Khan,  Rafiullah,  Mohammad Nadeem,  Mehran Khan,  Fayyaz Butt,  Samay Shrivastava,  Bilal Khan


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Bangladesh, Netherlands hope for batting boost in Kingstown




Bangladesh will hope they can bounce back quickly from a what-might-have-been result against South Africa [Cricinfo]

Netherlands will hunt for their first big fish (Full Members side) when they take on Bangladesh in the T20 World Cup‘s newest venue in Kingstown, St Vincent. It is a fresh pitch where competitive cricket hasn’t been played for a while now. Both sets of batters, battered and bruised in New York, will look forward to a better experience.

Bangladesh endured a hectic travel schedule after their South Africa game in New York, with their chartered flight out delayed by five hours. They arrived early Tuesday morning in their Kingstown hotel, and cancelled training on that day.

Coupled with the travel stress, Bangladesh are dealing with heartbreak of a close defeat to South Africa. Their inability to put away Keshav Maharaj’s full-tosses in the final over cost them the game. Bangladesh have had trouble closing off T20I chases over the last eight years, and on Monday, Mahmudullah and Jaker Ali, reputed big hitters, could not find a boundary in the last three overs of their chase.

Their top order batting has also been worrying. Captain Najmul Hossain Shanto opened with Tanzid Hasan against South Africa, with Soumya Sarkar left out, but neither opening pair has managed a double-digit stand yet in this tournament. Litton Das showed a bit of form against Sri Lanka but gave it away cheaply against South Africa. Only Towhid Hridoy and Mahmudullah have shown batting form, while it has mostly been the bowling attack that has kept Bangladesh afloat.

Netherlands will have their hands full against Tanzim Hasan Sakib and Taskin Ahmed with the new ball, before Mustafizur Rahman and Rishad Hossain go at them in the middle overs. The pace trio has done well in the death overs too, and among the spin-bowling allrounders Mahmudullah has been mostly economical while Shakib Al Hasan, despite a poor start to the tournament, can never be counted out.

Netherlands themselves have bowled brilliantly in the T20 World Cup, beating Nepal in Dallas and pushing South Africa close in New York. Logan van Beek, Bas de Leede and Tim Pringle have bowled well in partnerships alongside Vivian Kingma and Paul van Meekeren.

Like Bangladesh, they too have batting problems. Max O’Dowd has made their only half-century so far, while the rest of the batters haven’t taken off, particularly Michael Levitt who was their form player leading up to the T20 World Cup.

This could be a tense scrap in Kingstown, with the result coming down to which bowling attack can better dominate on the day.

Taskin Ahmed has performed admirably as the attack leader. He has taken the big wickets of Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, Kusal Mendis and Dasun Shanaka in Bangladesh’s two games, while going at just 5.50 per over. It is still early days but if he can keep getting the ball to shape and maintain his overall fitness, Taskin could end as one of the top bowlers of the tournament.

Logan van Beek has already bowled arguably the ball of the tournament. His delivery to Reeza Hendricks in New York pitched on middle and off, squared up the batter, and flicked the off bail as van Beek flew into a celebratory run. He has been Netherlands’ best bowler in their two matches so far, picking up five wickets. Accuracy is van Beek’s hallmark, regardless of whether he is bowling with an upright or wobbly seam.

Bangladesh are still unsure about their top and lower middle order. Soumya Sarkar and Mahedi Hasan are among their batting options if they are looking for another change.

Bangladesh (probable): Tanzid Hasan,  Najmul Hosain Shanto (capt),  Litton Das (wk),  Shakib Al Hasan,  Towhid Hridoy,  Mahmudullah,  Jaker Ali,  Rishad Hossain,  Tanzim Hasan,  Taskin Ahmed  Mustafizur Rahman.

Barring last-minute injuries, Netherlands are likely to continue with the same XI.

Netherlands (probable): Michael Levitt, Max O’Dowd, Vikramjit Singh,  Sybrand Engelbrecht,  Bas de Leede,  Scott Edwards (capt & wk),  Teja Nidamanuru,  Logan van Beek,  Tim Pringle,  Paul van Meekeren,  Vivian Kingma.


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Rutherford and bowlers take West Indies to Super Eight; New Zealand’s campaign in trouble




Gudakesh Motie is on cloud nine after dismissing Kane Williamson [ICC]

A sensational rescue effort from Sherfane Rutherford set up a third win on the trot for West Indies in the T20 World Cup 2024 while putting New Zealand on the verge of elimination at the Brian Lara stadium in Tarouba. With the win, the co-hosts have also secured a spot in the Super Eight.

New Zealand’s fast bowlers dictated proceedings in the powerplay to have West Indies four down in the first innings. Rutherford found little support as they slid to 112 for 9 after 18 overs, but he plundered 37 runs off the last two overs to take West Indies to 149 before the bowlers stepped up during their defense.

Alzarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie and Akeal Hosein were the stars with the ball, as New Zealand slumped to two defeats in as many games.

Rutherford found himself in unfamiliar territory thanks to West Indies’ top-order collapse, coming in to bat in the sixth over. Only for the second time in his T20I career, he faced a ball in the powerplay. But he vied his time in his partnerships with Hosein, Andre Russell and Romario Shepherd. For long, his only two boundary shots were two sixes off drag downs from Santner and Neesham before he finally let loose in the last two overs.

New Zealand took a gambit in using up their best frontline bowlers early and ended up giving Daryl Mitchell the penultimate over and Santner the last.

The plan nearly paid off, with West Indies having just one wicket in hand after the 18th over. But Rutherford resisted as he first tore into Mitchell, hitting him for back-to-back sixes down the V’ before depositing the ball over the fine-leg fence for a third six in the over.

He then hit Santner for two fours and a majestic six slog-swept from wide of off over wide long-on, on the way to a 33-ball half-century. The 37 runs off the last two overs helped take West Indies to 149, a score that seemed unattainable for almost all of their innings.

Brief scores:
West Indies 149 for 9 in 20 overs  (Sherfane Rutherford 68*; Trent Boult 3-16, Tim Southee 2-21, Lockie Ferguson 2-27, James Neesham 1-27, Mitchell Santner 1-27) beat  New Zealand 136 for 9 in 20 overs (Finn Allen 26, Glenn Phillips 40, Mitchell Santner 21*; Akeal Hossein 1-21, Andre Rusell 1-30, Alzarri Joseph 4-19, Gudakesh Motie 3-25) by 13 runs

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