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Old 14-03-16, 06:33 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Thomians stunned as Royal fight back to win

Thomians stunned as Royal fight back to win
March 14, 2016, 12:54 am


by Reemus Fernando

Royal College fought back on day three to pull off a stunning four-wicket victory over archrivals S. Thomas’ as paceman Himesh Ramanayake, fresher Pasindu Sooriyabandara and Malith Kariyawasam played the roles of heroes for the winners in the 137th Battle of the Blues at the SSC on Saturday.

Paceman Ramanayake played the key role in turning the match on its head as he took four wickets to reduce the formidable Thomian batting line-up to 127 runs, a far cry from the Thomians’ dominant first innings feat of 350 for five wickets declared. That left Royal with a target of 150 runs to chase in 49 overs.

In their run chase, Royal were 79 for four wickets at one stage but Kariyawasam held the middle-order together with an unbeaten 38 runs to seal the victory with light metres almost out at around 6.05 p.m.

The Thomians who came to the match as slight favourites were still holding the edge when the match commenced on the third day. But it all started to slide when Royal decided to declare their innings still trailing by 22 runs.

Ramanayake accounted for both openers, the first innings centurion Rashmika Opatha caught by Panditharatne for eight runs and Yohan Mendis bowled for 18 runs. From then on there were wickets at regular intervals as all five bowlers used by the Royal skipper took at least one wicket each.

Thomians bargained to promote bowling all-rounders up in the batting order, ahead of established batsmen, namely, Dilendra Gunathilaka and Sachitha Jayathilaka, but the ploy backfired as the former were out cheaply in the face of tight Royal attack.

The Thomians were 60 for five at lunch and when Jayathilaka and Gunathilaka finally came in to bat as number eight and nine respectively, they found the pressure too much to handle and were out cheaply.

Jayathilaka was unlucky to be given out lbw to a Lasith Embuldeniya delivery, while Gunathilaka became Ramanayake’s fourth victim caught by Jayawardena for six runs. Dellon Peiris, with 22 runs, and Senal de Silva, with an unbeaten 28, were the leading scorers for Thomians as they batted for 46 overs to post 127 runs. Embuldeniya and Duvindu Hettiarachchi took two wickets each.

Commencing from the overnight score of 280 for even, Sooriyabandara went on to complete a decisive debut century as Royal scored 328 for nine wickets declared. He scored 123 runs (309 balls) inclusive of 17 fours. He came to bat early on the second day morning and had stayed at the crease for 383 minutes when he was bowled by Ravindu Kodituwakku. The number nine batsman Helitha Vithanage provided valuable support adding 59 runs for the ninth wicket with Sooriyabandara. Vithanage scored 23 (65 balls) with three fours and a six.

Royal cricketers celebrate after beating S. Thomas’.
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Last edited by sriyanj; 14-03-16 at 07:33 PM.
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