Posted by Gareth Parry Added on: August 19 2012
Uva Next 126 for 6 (Munaweera 36, Peiris 2-24) beat Uthura Rudras 124 for 8 (Gunaratne 30, Senanayake 3-16)
The Uthura Rudras faced Uva Next in the 11th match of the Sri Lanka Premier League. Both sides had struggled coming into the match and were in the bottom half of the table.
The Rudras, who had won the toss and elected to bat first, showed why they are bottom of the SLPL table with an extraordinary display with the bat. They made a disastrous start to the innings and in quite unprecedented scenes did not score a run for the first four overs. The spell of fours maidens, two each bowled by Oram and Gul, was a bizarre passage of play with Uthura losing two wickets and playing as though the pitch was literally a minefield. In a further ironic twist the first runs the Rudras scored came via a dropped catch with Kandamby putting Mubarak down at first slip.
There was no doubt the the Uva opening bowlers performed well in the first few overs and they certainly found conditions to be helpful. However the wicket was by no means a horrendously tricky one to bat on and the display from Uthura's top order could only be described as shambolic.
It was almost miraculous that Uthura managed to reach 124 in their innings as Uva's bowling in the second half of the innings let them down. Uthura had reached only 34 for 3 at the halfway stage and looked completely out of the match. It was a great credit to their middle and lower order that they managed to add 90 runs in the second 10 overs of the innings which included 21 of the final over of the innings.
In spite of the fact that they allowed Uthura back into the match their were still some outstanding bowling performances. Senanayake was the the man with by far the best bowling figures as he finished with 4-0-16-3. He profited from the fact that the Rudras batsmen were forced to chase the game but he forced them to take risks by bowling accurately to pick up three well deserved wickets.
Even with their recovery to 124 a victory for Uthura was extremely unlikely however this didn't count on the flustered thinking of the Uva batsmen. Although Uva ran out eventual winners they threatened to capitulate spectacularly and let Uthura pull off the most unlikely of victories.
The Uva openers made a solid start to their innings with a first wicket stand of 43. This was followed up with a 30 partnership for the second wicket to take Uva to 73 for 2 with 8.2 overs left. With only 52 needed at a run rate of just 6.24 and 8 wickets in hand Uva looked certain winners.
However the Uva batsman displayed a stunning level of complacency and lost four wickets in the next six overs. With 24 runs required from the final three overs Uthura were back in the match. Fortunately for Uva they could rely on the class of Shoaib Malik, who scored 26 from just 15 balls, to take them over the winning line in the last over.
Ultimately the match was one in which the side that played least poorly won. Neither team seemed able or willing to take the initiative and only a disastrous period of play for Uthura in the first innings separated the sides. Both clubs will go away from this match knowing they will have to improve dramatically if they are to reach the Sri Lanka Premier League finals.