Reliving the magic of Rangana Herath
Rangana Hearth was never the super star to perform supreme stunts. Yet that day was different.
by Aravinthan Arunthavanathan
On 31st March 2014, a Sri Lankan dream was disintegrating into pieces at Chittagong. In a do or die battle against the Kiwis the Lankans had put up a paltry 119, not anywhere close to giving them a chance. The Kiwis were off to a solid start adding 18 runs for the loss of just one wicket. Nothing but a miracle could keep Sri Lanka alive in the tournament.
Miracles are not strange in Sri Lankan cricket. But on a world stage, with survival on the line, the probability becomes even more remote. Miracles are enacted by superstars. Angelo Mathews, Sanath Jayasuriya, Lasith Malinga and the list goes on. Super strong, supremely skilled, the adjectives that define those who perform miracles are plenty. But on that day definitions did not matter. A burly tweaker merely a few times taller in centimeters than the score the team posted that day was the last hope Sri Lanka had. Rangana Hearth was never the super star to perform supreme stunts. Yet that day was different. A comeback win is always special. But those which are orchestrated by the bowlers are even more special. Melbourne, Durban, Galle the list of special wins in our history is long. But for some reason nothing could evoke the same excitement and thrill of what was to transpire in Chittagong that day. A knockout game on the world stage with back to the wall with no realistic chance. The stage was set for Herath to weave the magic wand, which nobody knew he possessed in the shortest format of the game.
The Kiwi dynamite Brendon McCullum tried to do what he does best, intimidating the bowlers. Trying to do so McCullum misread the length and turn to end up being stumped in Herath’s first over. A T20 maestro was made to look like an amateur trying his first dancing skit by a spinner who was far from the T20 prototype. With Ross Taylor in the middle Kiwis were in safe hands. But Herath was in no mood to give in easy. A beautifully delivered arm ball skidding of the glistening surface trapped Taylor plumb in front. The glimmer of hope was slowly but surely turning into rays of hope. Not only was he picking wickets, but Hearth was also miserly with the runs too. Neesham was next victim to an off spinner’s perfect scalp. Lured into the drive, beaten by the lack of pace, bowled through the famous gate. Hearth was imparting his Midas touch on proceedings. Suddenly Kiwis were left in a daze not knowing what was transpiring in the middle. It was as if an alien power had engulfed an unsuspecting civilization. At 29-4 the game was not gone by any means for the kiwis but soon it was to be. Luke Ronchi the swashbuckling wicket keeper batsman was squared up by a delivery that was angled in, pitched in line, and straightened. As the finger went up the Sri Lankan hopes too skyrocketed. Herath had caused havoc sending kiwis into an avalanche reducing them to 29-5. Despite Kane Williamson anchoring the innings and providing a fight Hearth’s effort was strong enough to outweigh the kiwis. The wicket of Trent Boult to polish off the Kiwi effort was a fitting finale to a fabulous effort. As the ball landed in the safe palms of ever reliable Mahela Jayawardena at slip, Herath had orchestrated an unimaginable win rekindling flames of million hopes.
For a team to win a world tournament there have to moments which instill self-belief that something special is around the corner. The New Delhi chase in 1996 was one moment that rejuvenated the 1996 campaign, similarly it was Herath’s effort against all odds that made Sri Lanka believe. In 2014 almost all the Lankans had gone unsold in the IPL auction weeks before the campaign began, due to a mix of skill related and administrative factors. But it was an indication that the team was competitive but not top contenders. In that way it was fitting that a team who were at best, outsiders to clinch the title went on to reach the pinnacle powered by an individual who would not have been imagined of as one who can deliver such a stellar effort in the shortest format of the game. While there are many bowling feats that are celebrated in the annals of our cricket, Rangana Herath’s Chittagong carnage will stand the test of time and continue to be celebrated.
Hearath’s superlative 5-3 not only matches the other renowned feats but impact transcends into a different stratosphere.
IPL 2023 rule change: teams will name their playing XI after the toss
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.
Litton, Tamim make light work of small chase after Mahmud’s maiden five-for
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.
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
AA Sponsors 68th National Billiard Championship
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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