Veteran Angelo Mathews smashed a hundred to help Dambulla to a consolation win in the Super Four Provincial tournament third place playoff game yesterday at Rangiri Dambulla International Cricket Stadium. Dambulla had struggled throughout the competition and edged out Kandy by 94 runs thanks to the big fourth wicket partnership between Mathews and Bhanuka Rajapaksa.Dambulla were off to a poor start losing three wickets for 45 runs with all World Cup hopefuls – Niroshan Dickwella (4), Danuksha Gunathilaka (15) and Oshada Fernando (6) falling cheaply. Then followed the 150 run stand between Mathews and Rajapaksa as Dambulla were able to post a challenging total.
The big hitting Rajapaksa finished with 95 off just 87 deliveries with 11 fours and two sixes. Mathews’ hundred came off 106 deliveries with nine fours and two sixes. Mathews also added 71 runs for the fifth wicket with Jeevan Mendis, who hit two fours and three sixes in his 33 ball half-century.Isuru Udana with a 14 ball cameo produced 34 runs including three fours and two sixes. Nuwan Pradeep and Thisara Perera were the pick of the bowlers claiming two wickets apiece.
Kandy were not up to the challenge as they were bowled out for 231 with more than seven overs to spare. After skipper Dimuth Karunaratne fell for a second ball duck, a 121 run stand for the second wicket followed between Sadeera Samarawickrama and Sangeeth Cooray. Samarawickrama, one of the World Cup hopefuls top scored with 70 runs that came off 66 deliveries with nine fours. Cooray’s 57 came off 79 balls with eight boundaries.There was not much resistance from rest of the batsmen as Dambulla cruised to a comfortable win with Vishwa Fernando, Isuru Udana and Jeevan Mendis getting among wickets.The final of the tournament will take place today also in Dambulla between Galle and Colombo.The national selection panel is expected to announce the World Cup squad after the final. Most games ended with teams unable to utilize the quota of 50 overs and the selectors will have quite a few headaches in deciding the squad.
They will also have to settle on a captain. Their choice for white ball captaincy so far has been a disaster. Under Lastih Malinga, Sri Lanka have played 12 games and lost all 12 since December last year. Several senior players have also complained that the captain has been carrying out mudslinging campaigns through social media targeting them.