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Sri Lanka record come from behind win over Bangladesh



The writing was on the wall for Sri Lanka in their World Cup warm-up game against Bangladesh in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday when they were reduced to 75 for six chasing a target of 148. All the big guns; Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Dasun Shanaka had fallen for low scores but a stunning unbroken seventh wicket stand between Avishka Fernando and Chamika Karunaratne rescued them and in the end Sri Lanka cruised to a four wicket win with six balls to spare.

There was no television coverage of the game and to make matters worse, there were no updates of the scores either in any of the online scoring platforms. So fans had to entirely depend on a couple of Sri Lankan journalists in UAE to know the outcome of the game. There was a sigh of relief in the middle of the night when photographer Sameera Peiris, who is doing some freelance work for The Island, broke the news that Sri Lanka had secured a hard fought win.

The partnership between Avishka and Chamika was worth 73 runs and came off 55 balls. Avishka finished unbeaten on 62 off 42 balls with four fours and three sixes while Chamika was 29 not out off 25 balls with one four and a six.

Avishka was expected to open the batting but on Tuesday, he batted at number four and it remains to be seen what Sri Lanka will do with the 23-year-old prodigy when the qualifiers start.

While some feel that he is better off opening the innings to exploit the field restrictions during Power Play, others believe that Aravinda’s heir should bat where the greatest batsman produced by the nation batted – number four.

Chamika, meanwhile, needs to make a lot of improvements to his game but in the brief time he has been with Sri Lanka, he has shown a lot of promise and looks to be the kind of player who needs to be given the long rope.

Dushmantha Chameera did not play a single IPL game despite being called up by Royal Challengers Bangalore for the second leg of the IPL. He showcased what RCB lacked by bowling a superb spell on Tuesday and finished with three wickets.

Wanidu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Maheesh Theekshana and Dasun Shanaka finished with a wicket each as Sri Lanka restricted Bangladesh for 147. Soumya Sarkar top scored for Bangladesh with 34 runs.

A hamstring injury to Kusal Perera last month was a huge worry for Sri Lanka ahead of the World Cup. But he has recovered and played Tuesday’s warm-up game although he only made four runs.

Sri Lanka’s second warm-up game is today against Papua New Guinea in Abu Dhabi.

Bangladesh, Oman and Papua New Guinea are playing the qualifying round in Group ‘B’ and two teams will go through.

The former champions will remain in Abu Dhabi for their first two games of the qualifying round in Group ‘A’ against Namibia and Ireland. They will move to Sharjah for the third game against Netherlands. Sri Lanka need to win two of the three qualifying games to progress to the World Cup.

Sri Lanka had reached the finals of the T-20 World Cup on three occasions; 2009 in London, 2012 in Colombo and 2014 in Dhaka. They were champions in the 2014 edition beating India in the finals.

Brief Scores:

Bangladesh 147 for seven in 20 overs

(Sayumya Sarkar 34, Dushmantha Chameera 3/27)

Sri Lanka 148 for six in 19 overs

(Avishka Fernando 62*, Chamika Karunaratne 29*)

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Jadeja’s nerveless hitting gifts Chennai Super Kings fifth IPL title




Jadeja finished the chase with a 6 and a 4 off the last two balls from Mohit Sharma in the 20th over

Chennai Super Kings became IPL champions for the fifth time in a game befitting a title clash. With 10 needed off the last two deliveries, Ravindra Jadeja smacked a six down the ground and a four to fine leg off Mohit Sharma to seal one of the most dramatic finales in the history the tournament.

Brief Scores:

Gujarat Titans 214/4 in 20 overs (Sai Sudharsan 96, Wriddhiman Saha 54; Matheesha Pathirana 2-44) lost to Chennai Super Kings 171/5 in 20 overs (Devon Conway 47, Shivam Dube 32*) by 5 wickets (DLS method)

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Chameera returns after surgery but no place for KJP



Dushmantha Chameera returns to the side after a seventh month layoff.

Fast bowler Dushmanta Chameera returns to the side after a seven month layoff having undergone ankle surgery as the selectors picked a balanced squad for the three-match series against Afghanistan starting later this week at Suriyawewa.

Although Chameera has been named in the squad, there was no place for top order batsman Kusal Janith Perera, who had returned to 20 side in New Zealand two months ago. KJP on that occasion had only been picked for T-20s and there are question marks about his fitness for the 50 over format.

Fans will be hoping that by the time the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe begin next month, KJP will be cleared to feature in the 50 over format as well. One of the most destructive batters in the side, KJP has been in and out of the team due to injuries.

Opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne also makes a comeback to the ODI outfit having been axed from the 50 over format two years ago. Sri Lanka’s problems of not being able to bat out 50 overs in recent times is seen as the reason for Dimuth’s return to the side.

Uncapped leg-spinner Dushan Hemantha has also been named in the squad but now that Wanindu Hasaranga has recovered from an injury, he’s expected to play ahead of the 29-year-old.

There’s no place for left-arm quick Dilshan Madushanka either although there was lot of excitement when he first made an impact during last year’s Asia Cup. Young all-rounder Dunith Wellalage has also been overlooked for the three-match series.

The selectors are not expected to do too many changes from the 16-member squad chosen for the Afghanistan series for the World Cup qualifiers.

The first ODI gets underway Friday (2nd June) followed by games on June 4th and 7th. The series was drafted in to give the Sri Lankan team some competitive games ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.

Sri Lanka Squad:

Dasun Shanaka (Captain), Kusal Mendis (Vice-Captain), Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya De Silva, Charith Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Dushan Hemantha, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Matheesha Pathirana, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha

Afghanistan Squad:

Hashmatullah Shahidi (Captain), Rahmat Shah (Vice-Captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhail (wk), Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujib ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Abdul Rahman, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Farid Ahmad Malik.

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Yupun out of competitions for few weeks due to injury



Yupun Abeykoon

by Reemus Fernando

Sprinter Yupun Abeykoon who suffered an injury during last week’s 100 metres final of the Savona International Meet will ‘stay away from competitions for few weeks.’

“After the MRI test which I took after my race in Savona, it is unfortunate that I have to inform you all that due to a minor hamstring injury I have to stay away from competitions for a few weeks due to medical advice given by experts,” said the Italy based sprinter in a statement yesterday.

Abeykoon was placed second behind Reece Prescod of Britain in the final of the Savona International Meet last week. The national record holder returned a wind-assisted 10.01 seconds (+2.7) performance to open his season in the 100metres. However, despite placing second in the final, he was seen struggling during the last few metres of the race. The injury means he must skip one of the major 100 metres events this week.

The first South Asian Sprinter to break the ten seconds barrier in the men’s 100 metres, Abeykoon was expected to compete against a star-studded lineup at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea in Florence later this week.

The world-class lineup includes world champion Fred Kerley and Kenyan world leader in the 100 metres this season, Ferdinand Omanyala.

“I have already started my rehab process with my physio, doctors and the rest of the staff and I am looking forward to coming back stronger than I was in the upcoming competitions,” he further stated.

The highest-ranked Sri Lankan male athlete, Abeykoon is the prime medal hopeful at this year’s Asian Games. Sri Lanka Athletics is relying heavily on Abeykoon to end the country’s medal drought in track and field at the quadrennial event.

He is also the only male athlete to be in the required range in the world rankings to be eligible for selection for this year’s World Championships.

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