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Our secret for success in World Cups is absorbing pressure well – Sanath

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by Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka’s success in T-20 World Cups is tremendous. Since the new format was introduced in 2005, there have been seven T-20 World Cups and Sri Lanka have reached the finals on three occasions while on another occasion they were losing semi-finalists. No other team has featured in three finals with West Indies, India, Pakistan, Australia and England appearing in two finals each.

One of the team’s key figures during the early success was former captain Sanath Jayasuriya, who played in the first three tournaments – in South Africa, England and West Indies. He was Chairman of Selectors when Sri Lanka won the title in 2014 in Bangladesh.

“I don’t think a lot of people gave us a chance ahead of these World Cups. True, on paper, we didn’t have the best team compared to some of the other sides. But our greatest strength was that we absorbed pressure well. When we are put under pressure, we hang in there and someone gets us out of trouble. We may not have posted big totals. But we fight hard. We stop every run on the field and play an aggressive brand of cricket challenging the opposition to take chances. That’s very important in any form of cricket. To be positive and take away the fear of failure. I guess that’s been our key to success,” Jayasuriya told The Island.

The 2009 World Cup campaign saw Sri Lanka beating some formidable sides. West Indies were favourites and Kumar Sangakkara’s side beat them twice, in the second round and in the semis. They also beat New Zealand, Pakistan and Australia in the competition before going down to Younis Khan’s side in the final at Lord’s. The opening partnership of Jayasuriya and T.M. Dilshan was key in that tournament. Jayasuriya not only came up with match winning knocks with the bat, but picked up wickets at crucial junctures with his left-arm spin.

“I enjoyed playing in England. At that stage, we had not played much T-20 cricket. There were a lot suggestions that we had to improvise. I am not a player who reverse sweeps a lot or plays the scoop shot. I have my strengths and I stuck to my game plan. With my ability to clear the boundary, it was important that I batted deep and when I do that, the team wins. It was disappointing to lose that final. We had played so well until that game. We were unbeaten in the tournament winning six games before the final. But unfortunately in the big game, we didn’t score enough runs.”

“I know I have to do a job for the team with the ball as well. I study the opposition. I have a fair idea of what variation I need to do. My game plan is to bowl as many dot balls as possible. Not to take wickets. You need to be a bit cunning and read the batsmen’s mind. When you have played the game as long as I have, you know what the batsmen is thinking. It’s an instinctive thing.”

Sri Lanka entered the 2014 final against India having lost four World Cup finals in a row – 2007 to Australia in Barbados (50 overs), 2009 to Pakistan at Lord’s (20 overs), 2011 to India in Bombay (50 overs) and 2012 to West Indies at RPS (20 overs). Fifth time they were lucky winning a World Cup for the first time since 1996.

“That was a tournament where we had to do a lot of planning. It all came off and after losing four World Cup finals it was a relief to win that one. That too against India. I had to take some tough decisions. Had to leave out Dinesh Chandimal, who was our captain. That was a massive call. When we called Chandimal and explained the decision to him, he accepted it. Man management is an important aspect when you are managing a team,” recalled Jayasuriya.



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Second Sri Lanka – Afghanistan ODI called off

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By Rex Clementine

Heavy rain forced match officials to call off the second One-Day International between Sri Lanka and Afghanistan at the Pallekele International Stadium on Sunday.Set a target of 229 runs to win, Sri Lanka had reached 10 for no loss in 1.4 overs when rains came down forcing the players indoors.

Rain didn’t stop and at 8:57pm local time play was called off. SLC said in a statement that the ground staff needed more than one hour to clear the covers due to the amount of water collected on the covers and weren’t able to start by 9:56 pm, the latest cut-off time.

Afghanistan lead the three-match series 1-0 having won the opening fixture on Friday by 60 runs.

The series is part of the World Cup Super League and the no result meant that both teams collected five points each. That means, Afghanistan are edging closer to automatic qualification for next year’s World Cup. They are at seventh in the table currently. Sri Lanka are in the danger zone placed at tenth position. Only eight teams earn automatic qualification for the sport’s showpiece event.

Afghanistan opted to bat first after winning the toss and half-centuries by Rahmanullah Gurbaz (68) and Rahmat Shah (58) helped them to post 228 all out in  48.2 overs. Mohammad Nabi chipped in with 41 off 34 balls with two fours and two sixes.

Sri Lanka’s bowling was wayward to start with, but they bounced back well claiming the last five wickets for 33 runs.Seamer Kasun Rajitha finished with career best bowling figures as he claimed three wickets for 31 runs in his nine overs, which included two maidens.

Maheesh Theekshana and Lahiru Kumara chipped in with two wickets each as Sri Lanka bowled out Afghanistan.The game was being played on the same surface as Friday’s game and there was quite a bit of purchase for the spinners and Sri Lanka would have faced a tough challenge during the run chase.

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Gayana, Charuka, Anjala excel

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Under 19 Cricket

by Reemus Fernando

A remarkable match saving effort by Gayana Weerasinghe for Maliyadeva and a match bag of ten wickets by Charuka Peiris to guide S. Thomas’ to their third outright victory of the season were among the highlights of the Under 19 traditional matches played over the weekend.

Weerasinghe stood out scoring unbeaten knocks in both innings to avoid defeat in the match against Royal. In reply to Royal’s 302 for seven wickets declared, Maliyadeva collapsed but Weerasinghe scored an unbeaten century (135 in 204 balls, 18x4s) to defy the home team at Reid Avenue. Following on, he was joined by Jayamin Muthukumarana (25), Chandupa Abeysinghe (24) and Amesh Tennakoone (40) to force a draw. In the second innings, Weerasinghe batted for 134 minutes and remained unbeaten on 61 runs (in 122 balls, 4x4s).

Peiris completed a match bag of ten wickets with a six wicket haul in the second innings as S. Thomas’ cruised to victory with a session remaining in the match. S. Thomas’ posted 289 runs in reply to Mahinda’s 101 runs and in their second essay the visitors were bowled out for 174 runs.

It was S. Thomas’ third outright victory of the season. In the match between St. Servatius’ and Mahamana the latter earned first innings honours as Anjala Bandara scored 126 runs for them to post 241 runs in reply to St. Servatius’ 126 runs.

Results

On Sunday

St. Servatius’, Mahanama ends in draw

St. Servatius’ 126 all out in 42.3 overs (Kushan Wijerama 23, Chathum Bimsara 23, Thisan Dewmith 21n.o.; Duvindu Ranatunga 3/23, Dasith Gunathilake 3/36, Venuk Hettiarachchi 2/24, Omesh Udara 2/28) and 147 for 4 in 42 overs (Chamarindu Nethsara 41n.o., Mithila Charles 29, Denuwan Pramod 26, Diniru Sanushka 21, Vishwa Supun 21n.o.; Dasith Gunathilake 2/49).

Mahanama 241 all out in 72.3 overs (Anjala Bandara 126, Duvindu Ranatunga 36, Omesh Udara 35; Tharush Damindu 4/48, Thisan Dewmith 4/66)

On Saturday

St. Thomas’ beat Mahinda by an innings and 14 runs at Mount Lavinia

Scores:

Mahinda 101 all out in 30.1 overs (Dhanuja Induwara 53; Nathan Caldera 5/27, Charuka Peiris 4/21) and 174 all out in 46 overs (Hiruna Gallege 40, Dinura Kalupahana 36, Chandupa de Silva 20, Shenuka Dangamuwa 29; Charuka Peiris 6/66, Akash Fernando 2/33, Nathan Caldera 2/32)

S. Thomas’ 289 all out in 69 overs (Thisen Eheliyagoda 40, Romesh Mendis 117, Senesh Hettiarachchi 72; Tharusha Dilshan 5/71, Sanuka Dangamuwa 3/51)

Maliyadeva force a draw after Royal enforce follow on at Reid Avenue

Scores:

Royal 302 for 7 decl. in 77.2 overs (Ramiru Perera 85, Uvindu Weerasekara 60, Dasis Manchanayake 100n.o., Bulan Weeratunga 33; Gayana Weerasinghe 4/76, Charuka Herath 2/80)

Maliyadeva (52 for 3) 201 all out in 63.4 overs (Jayamin Muthukumarana 18, Chandupa Abeysinghe 17, Gayana Weerasinghe 135n.o.; Sandesh Ramanayake 2/60, Dasis Munchanayake 4/33) and 198 for 5 in 66 overs (Jayamin Muthukumarana 25, Chandupa Abeysinghe 24, Amesh Tennakoone 40, Chamod Sathsara 17, Gayana Weerasinghe 61n.o.; Menaka Heyyanthuduwa 2/28).

Dharmasoka and Nalanda settle for draw at Campbell Park

Scores:

Nalanda 105 all out in 34.4 overs (Rusiru Vilochana 22, Kushmitha Silva 23; Pathum Malitha 2/19, Senitha Halambage 5/17) and 309 for 9 in 90.5 overs (Rusiru Vilochana 65, Kushmitha Silva 80, Eranga jayakody 90, Sajitha Vithanage 38, Sathmina Serasinghe 17n.o.; Chanaka Jananga 4/59, Senitha Halambage 4/100)

Dharmasoka (210 for 6) 238 all out in 78.5 overs (Manasa de Silva 39, Senitha Halambage 97, Chandupa Kavisha 27; Chanul Athukorale 2/43, Minod Caldera 3/71, Janula Indusara 3/12)

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Trinity, St. Anthony’s clash for final spot  

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Under 19 Division I Tier ‘A’ Cricket  

Arch rivals Trinity and St. Anthony’s Katugastota will clash in Colombo today to secure a final berth in the Under 19 Division I Tier ‘A’ tournament. Both teams have seen some of the leading teams in their respective groups in the first round being eliminated in the knockout stage and will be eager to last the full distance to earn the coveted title.

St. Anthony’s captained by Lahiru Abesinghe were able to eliminate one of the favourites to the title, Mahanama in their quarter-final match thanks largely to the heroics of their top order batsman Mohamed Aaqil. With the rest of the batting line up failing to impress, Aaqil scored a dogged knock of 80 runs to secure their semi-final berth. The team inclusive of a couple of Sri Lanka Under 19 players will be looking forward to avoid the mistakes in that department in the crucial encounter.

St. Anthony’s were the fourth placed team in Group ‘Y’ after they ended up with a card of just four victories and four defeats during the first round. St. Sebastian’s and Maliyadeva, who finished second and third respectively in their group, were eliminated early in the knockout stage. In the event of St. Anthony’s advancing to the final they will be meeting Richmond, the champions of their group in the first round.

Trinity skippered by Rahal Amarasinghe eliminated St. Sebastian’s in the quarter-final after advancing to that stage with a third place finish in their group in the first round. During the first round they recorded five victories in eight outings.  Trinity have a number of players who were part of the Under 17 team adjudged the joint champions of the Under 17 tournament with St. Joseph’s. The experience of playing in that final where the scores were tied is likely to stand in good stead.

Teams:  

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

Officials:

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

 St. Anthony’s (from):  Lahiru Abesinghe  (Captain), Travin Mathew (Vice Captain), Mohommed Aaqil, K.S. Bandara, Thisara Ekanayake, Ravindu Kapukotuwa, Ryan Anthonys, Induwara Galapitage, Kaveesha Piyumal, Janith Rathnasiri, Charuka Ekanayake, Kevan Fernando, Januka. Rathnayake, Dasun Welanga, Ravindu Kasthuriarachchi, Nik Fonseka, Senura Abesekara, Dinura Ganegoda, Kaushika Kumarasinghe, Sanuka Kalpana. 

Officials:

Suneth Gunathilake (Head Coach), Priyantha Kumara (Asst. Coach), Lenin Jayasinghe (Master in Charge). 

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