Thomians have a slight edge 137th Battle of the Blues
Thomians have a slight edge
137th Battle of the Blues
March 9, 2016, 9:17 pm
by Reemus Fernando
S. Thomas’ brimming with confidance after a successful First XI season will have a slight edge against their arch-rivals Royal, who have had a rather bleak tailend to an otherwise prosperous season when the two powerhouses of cricket meet in the historic 137th Battle of the Blues encounter at the SSC ground in Colombo today.
After being compelled to honour tournament commitments, both Royal and S. Thomas’ played over 20 matches this season and both teams were ahead of their counterparts providing little to seperate the equally talented teams. But the game against Trinity, one of the leading teams this season, provided a clue as Royal’s battling crumbled in that game. Royal conceeded an innings defeat in Kandy.
Thomians led by coloursman Sachitha Jayathilaka are an unbeaten team, continuing in their upward rise since coming under Dinesh Kumarasinghe’s tutelage. They played home to most of their matches taking under their belt seven outright victories (St. Anthony’s Katugastota, St. Joseph Vaz’s, President’s, St. Benedict’s, Wesley, Nalanda, De Mazenod) and also did well in their limited away matches. The boys from Mount Lavinia have also reached the semi-finals of the Under-19 tournament.
Royal seem to have taken precautions as they played their traditional match against Prince of Wales at the SSC in an unprecidented move.
Royal, skippered by coloursman Geeshath Panditharatne, have under their belt four outright victories in 21 matches(St. Anthnoy’s, Katugastota, St. Joseph’s, De Mazenod, Royal, Panadura) and their only blemish this season was against Trinity.
Panditharatne and Tiran Danapala are two of the very few batsmen to have scored over 1000 runs this season. Panditharatne has three centuries and three half-centuries in his tally. The former Sri Lanka Under-19 player, Danapala (1107 runs- 4x100s, 4x50s) has maintained an average closer to 50 runs. Naveen Vidanapathirana (over 800 runs- 1x100s) and Pasindu Sooriyabandara (over 600 runs- 2x100s) are the others who have maintained an average over 30 runs this season, while Ronuka Jayawardena too has topped 600 run mark.
The Thomian batting line up does not have any batsman who has topped the 1000 runs milestone for the season. But Rashmika Opatha (over 800 runs- 2x100s, 5x50s), Yohan Mendis (over 700 runs- 1x100s, 4x50s), skipper Jayathilaka (over 700 runs- 7x50s), Ravindu Kodituwakku (over 700 runs- 1x100s, 4x50s) and Dilendra Gunathilake (over 600 runs) who has scored over 80% of his runs with boundaries have helped the Thomians survive formidable attacks.
Royal’s bowling armoury has a spinner who has taken more than 100 wickets for the season. That is only the second time in history. The stage is set for Sri Lanka discard Lasith Embuldeniya (118 wickets) to produce something special. He was prolific this season though was not among the pick of the bowlers during the last few encounters.
The left-armer will have the services of off spinner Ganith Sandeepa (closer to 40 wickets) in the spin department, while former Sri Lanka Under-19 paceman Himesh Ramanayake (over 30 wickets), Helitha Vithanage (over 25 wickets) and Duvindu Hettiarachchi share new ball duties.
The Thomians pace attack comprises Yohan Perera, Shenal de Silva, Hansaka Liyanarachchi and Rashmika Opatha.
Skipper Jayathilaka has been their key striker. The off-spinner has a tally of over 70 wickets and joins left arm chinaman bowler Ravindu Thilakaratne to make a strong spin combination. Thilakaratne has taken over 50 wickets this season. Dellon Peiris is the other left arm spinner and he too has taken over 40 wickets.
(Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi)
The 2 teams invited by the PM to Temple Trees for tea yesterday….31/3/2016
Last edited by sriyanj; 01-04-16 at 12:02 PM.
|Thread Tools||Search this Thread|