Recent Matches Report – Blues vs Reds Final 2022

Recent Matches Report – Blues vs Reds Final 2022

SLC Reds 137 for 3 (Kusal Mendis 56*) hit SLC Blues 136 for 6 (Bandara 40*) for seven windows

An undefeated 56 from Kusal Mendis anchored a relatively straightforward chase as the SLC Reds secured a seven-wicket victory over the SLC Blues to win the SLC Invitational T20 League.

The tournament was organized at the last minute, as the economic crisis in Sri Lanka had forced the holding of the Lanka Premier League to be postponed. The idea was to allow fringe players to catch the attention of selectors before the Asian Cup, and for those already in the domestic fold to cement their places.

And for Blues it was the national team stalwarts who produced the goods on the big occasion.

Chasing a modest target of 137, the Reds barely broke a sweat, stringing together partnerships with ease, with Reds captain Mendis a mainstay in each of them. The first was a starting position of 49 runs with Lasith Croospulle, followed by partnerships of 19, 33 and 36, with Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Kamindu Mendis and Wanindu Hasaranga respectively.

It was Hasaranga’s 14-ball, 24-run cameo at the end that brought the proceedings to a quick end, as he hit four bounds in his short stint, two of which came in what turned out to be the end of the game.

Praveen Jayawickrama was the choice of an otherwise ineffective Blues attack, posting figures of 2 out of 34.

Credit, however, must go to Mendis, who blunted the rest of the attack with well-timed limits and then was content to convert the shot, with marker pressure not an issue. His 56th came from 45 deliveries, and included four limits and a six. It was a mature shot, and a bit more circumspect than his blistering 86 in the previous game, also against the Blues.

It meant the Reds would remain in control of proceedings for almost the entirety of the game, and their pitchers had previously put in a solid performance in strangling Blues hitters.

Maheesh Theekshana and the fit Asitha Fernando picked up two wickets each, while Dunith Wellalage and Lahiru Madushanka each took one. It was Theekshana who proved to be the proverbial battering ram, once again striking into the power play in what is fast becoming his forte.

He struck the last ball of his second over, his third of the game, catching Lahiru Samarakoon lbw, before completing a sensational catch back at the start of his next over to see off a dangerous-looking Sadeera Samarawickrama. This set him up for a hat-trick, but while that feat wasn’t meant to be, he saw to it that his side started on the front foot, a lead they would hardly seem to relinquish as the match wore on.

Matheesha Pathirana and, surprisingly, Hasaranga were left wicketless, though the latter was miserly, giving away 24 in his four overs. In fact, all the pitchers employed by the Reds proved to be largely inexpensive, with only Pathirana on the expensive side managing 20 runs from his two overs.

For Blues it was Lahiru Udara, the wicketkeeper-batsman who opened the innings, captain Dhananjaya de Silva and Ashen Bandara, not for the first time in this tournament, at No. 5, who managed to put up any kind of resistance, scoring 37, 25 and 40 respectively.

Udara faced 39 races with Dhananjaya after early losses to Samarakoon and Samarawickrama. The association was just beginning to look threatening, and Dhananjaya in particular was beginning to find its limits, when he was eliminated from Dunith Wellalage.

Blues’ concerns were compounded when Udara went down soon after, but Bandara took over, scoring a 42-run partnership with Janith Liyanage. Liyanage would account for just 12 of those runs as Bandara took over, hitting four bounds in his 30-ball effort.

Bandara, the vivacious 23-year-old, would remain unbeaten, reaching cap in each of the last three overs of the innings, but a lack of support at the other end meant only one outcome was likely.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.