St. Sebastian’s Katuneriya, Holy Cross earn Division I promotion
UNDER 19 CRICKET
By Reemus Fernando
St. Sebastian’s College, Katuneriya with a sensational last-ball victory and Holy Cross College, Kalutara with a marathon first innings performance earned their much-awaited Division I promotion as they outdid their opponents in the Under 19 Division II Tier ‘A’ semi-finals worked off at Surrey Village Ground, Maggona and Kirimandala Mawatha, Colombo respectively.
At Surrey Village, Sri Sumangala dominated the first innings and a better part of the second but St. Sebastian’s fought back through their seventh wicket pair to record three wickets victory. Chasing a target of 172 runs to win, the boys from Katuneriya were troubled by spinner Mevindu Kumarasiri who took six wickets. But after being 135 for seven wickets at one stage, the seventh wicket pair of Gayan Harshana (26n.o.) and Vihanga Theekshana fought back scoring less than run-a-ball knocks to secure their passage to Division I.
Sri Sumangala, considered the most consistent team in the Division II tournament were without their key player Vishwa Lahiru who is with Sri Lanka Under 19 team in UAE.
At Kirimandala Mawatha grounds, Holy Cross earned first innings points against Sri Devananda as their tail-enders stretched their first innings almost to the end of the second day, batting for 141 overs. In reply to Sri Devananda’s 138 runs, Holy Cross posted 251 runs.
Holy Cross College, a former Division I school were the champions of the last Division II Tier ‘A’ Limited Overs tournament. They beat Sri Sumangala in the semi-final on their way to that title. Now they will be facing St. Sebastian’s in the Two-Day tournament final. The result of that match will have no bearing on their promotion to the top Division of the Under 19 tournament as the finalists are guaranteed the Division I promotion according to tournament rules. The top teams in the Division II Tier ‘A’ tournament were waiting for nearly three years to get their promotion as promotions and demotions were not done during the last two years due to the pandemic.
Hansaja Brian who also took four wickets, played a crucial role in anchoring the batting lineup with a marathon innings (58 runs in 231 balls) for Holy Cross to overtake their opponents in the first innings. He was ably supported by Nadeera Deshan as they added a vital sixth wicket stand of 60 runs. Later skipper Sasindu Kaushan put on a last wicket stand of 76 runs with Amash Fernando, who contributed with an unbeaten 15 runs in as many as 135 balls. Kaushan scored 78 runs facing 205 balls as the last wicket pair frustrated the boys from Ambalangoda for 48 overs.
The tenth wicket pair denied an opportunity for the boys from Ambalangoda to make a comeback in the second innings as they extended their innings almost to the close of play on the final day.
St. Sebastian’s beat Sri Sumangala by three wickets at Surrey Village
185 all out in 64.3 overs (Kishan Eranga 62, Sachira Demian 43; Chathumal Nimesh 4/45, Tharuka Manaram 5/30) and 135 all out in 48.5 overs (Kavindu Gayathra 25, Vidusha Peiris 21, Imalka Fernando 59; Chathumal Nimesh 5/59, Malindu Daham 2/29, Tharuka Manaram 3/39)
149 all out in 50.1 overs (Thisara Madushan 43, Ashen Dinuka 38; Mevindu Kumarasiri 3/41, Imalka Fernando 3/13) and 174 for 7 in 39 overs (Hasith Kavinda 27, Nimesh Madusanka 26, Chathumal Nimesh 35, Gayan Harshana 26n.o., Vihanga Theekshana 15n.o.; Mevindu Kumarasiri 6/66)
Holy Cross in first innings win over Sri Devananda at Kirimandala Mawatha
138 all out in 60.4 overs (Sithum Vihanga 36, Kaveesha Kalpana 31; Pasindu Wimansa 3/38, Hansaja Brayan 4/20, Rashan Kethaka 2/17)
251 all out in 141.5 overs (Gayantha Nadeesha 40, Hansaja Brian 58, Nadeera Deshan 31, Sasindu Kaushan 78, Amash Fernando 15n.o.; Kaveesha Kalpana 5/50, Ravindu Jeewanka 2/50)
Moose signs up as cricket’s clothing partner
by Rex Clementine
Singer had been a loyal sponsor of Sri Lankan cricket but a little heard company called Dilmah outbid Singer when the sponsorship was up for grabs in 2002. Singer boss Hemaka Amarasuriya wasn’t whinging and went on record saying that he welcomed local companies coming forward to back the sport.
Within a few years, Dilmah, an entity that was hardly known by most Sri Lankans became a global brand. That exactly is the strategy that Moose have adopted in their bid to become a global brand.
Moose a clothing company that is becoming quite popular among youth for their denims and t-shirts have been associated with cricket sponsorships in the last five years. On Thursday, they announced a four year deal with SLC to be clothing sponsor of the national cricket teams – both men and women.
Moose CEO Hasib Omar is a soft spoken young man who reminds you of the great Aravinda de Silva. But like in Ara’s case, beneath the soft exterior lies a sharp brain.
MAS had been the clothing sponsor of SLC for the last 16 years and Moose has outbid them signing a four year deal that will take them through all bilateral series, ICC events and Asian Cricket Council tournaments. The partnership brings together two of the nation’s main strengths – cricket and apparel industry.
Dimuth’s return to ODIs, a welcome move
by Rex Clementine
After more than two years of stubborn resistance, the selectors have been forced to bite the bullet and admit that their strategies have been faulty and the top order of the ODI outfit needs stability. Hence the return of Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne for white ball cricket for the upcoming three match series against Afghanistan and he should retain his place for the World Cup qualifiers later next month in Zimbabwe too.
One of the troubles with the 50 over side is that the batting department has been found wanting not able to bat out the 50 overs. Dimuth provides the stability opening the innings with his ability to bat through the 50 overs. Other stroke makers can bat around him.
In 2021 April, Dimuth Karunaratne posted his career best Test score of 244 against Bangladesh. A month later, Sri Lanka’s white ball team was touring Bangladesh and Dimuth was sacked from the captaincy as the leadership of the white ball teams was handed to Kusal Perera. It was a left field choice. That was an experiment that didn’t last long.
Not only was Dimuth removed from the captaincy he lost his place in the side as well. It didn’t dawn to the selectors that the batters will be encountering the same bowlers and in Karunaratne they had a man who was in good touch, having smashed a double hundred against the Bangladeshis. The result was catastrophic. Sri Lanka lost the series and in both games they lost, the batting had collapsed.
It is these senseless moves that has resulted in Sri Lanka being forced to play the qualifying round of the World Cup. By the time the selectors wisened up, the horse had bolted. The recalling of Dimuth is an admission by the selectors that they had got their act wrong in axing him.
It will be early winter in Zimbabwe in June and with day games teams will encounter some dew in the morning and need to adjust accordingly. On paper, Sri Lanka should go through, but they are a team that has got everything to lose having won the World Cup once and featured in two other finals. For smaller nations, this is a massive opportunity and if they win, there’s nothing like that but if they lose, they can always try next time. Not for Sri Lanka though, who have featured in every World Cup since the tournament was launched in 1975.
Complacency is the only thing that Sri Lanka need to guard themselves against. A mindset that this is not a tough challenge could see them losing the plot as we have seen it happening to many teams time and again.
In Chris Silverwood the team has someone who knows what to expect in Zimbabwe as he started his coaching stint there having overseen Mashonaland (Harare). The Head Coach will be tapping into the brains of his contacts in Zimbabwe as to what his team can expect when they travel for the qualifiers.
Russian doubles player cleared of match-fixing two years after Roland Garros arrest
Russian doubles player Yana Sizikova has been cleared of match-fixing two years after her arrest at the French Open, according to her lawyer.The 28-year-old was arrested at Roland Garros in 2021 as part of an investigation into match-fixing allegations dating back to the 2020 edition of the Grand Slam.
Sizikova, ranked 50th in doubles, has continued to play on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour since her arrest and will compete at this year’s French Open, which starts today.
“After two and a half years of investigation, the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office definitively closed the case on 11 April 2023, considering that criminal proceedings could not be initiated, as the facts of which Sizikova was accused could not be established,” her lawyer Frederic Belot told Reuters.
Officials began investigating in October 2020 after suspicions of “organised fraud” and “corruption in sports”.
A source close to the investigation told the BBC at the time the inquiry focused on a first-round match in which Sizikova and American partner Madison Brengle lost 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 to Romanian pair Andreea Mitu and Patricia Maria Tig.
Suspicions were reportedly raised after betting companies noticed hundreds of thousands of euros had been wagered on a break of serve in the second set.Sizikova was released a day after her arrest in 2021.In July 2022 she and fellow Russian Anastasia Potapova won the Prague Open, while Sizikova reached two other finals last year.
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