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Kandy back on top, Kamindu and Malinda lead batting and bowling

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Malinda Pushpakumara (highest wickets)-Kamindu Mendis (highest runs)

Jaffna and Dambulla will meet today (24) in their National Super League 4 day cricket fixture at Dambulla Stadium while both teams are fighting to qualify for the last semi-final spot at this tournament. Kandy, Colombo, and Galle already have booked their places in the semi-finals with the highest points. Jaffna started with high expectations after winning the limited-over title in this same tournament while they have managed first innings points from their first 4-day game when they notched up an impressive 555 and dismissed Colombo for 360. But since then their batting was not up to their expectations. However the inclusion of the National team members today they are expected to be back on track at this deciding game.

Meanwhile, Dambulla skipper Minod Bhanuka who is also among the runs in this tournament with 317 runs in three matches with the highest 163 expected to pose a good challenge. However, the Dambulla side couldn’t able to get a single victory in this tournament while they have beaten outright by an innings by Colombo and conceding first-innings points to Galle and Kandy in drawn matches and look unlikely to enter the semi-finals and only option is to play the positive game to get a result for this game.

Meanwhile, the other match between Galle and Colombo is scheduled to play today at Galle International Stadium and both teams are already qualified for the semi-finals and both teams will fight for the top place of the league round.

Kandy led by Kamindu Mendis finished their league machetes with the top place having 42.24 points while they have a very strong batting lineup in this tournament. The first four batters with the highest runs from the Kandy team proved their batting power. Skipper Mendis has the highest runs 649 with three centuries top of among the batters with an average of 81.12 followed by his teammates Oshada Fernando 476 runs with two centuries, Sahan Arachchige 362 runs with two centuries, and Lahiru Udara 343 runs with 4 half-centuries. Minod Bhanuka the Dambulla skipper 317 runs, Galle two openers Sangeeth Cooray (281 runs), and Pabasara Waduge (275 runs) are in good form already in 6th and 7th places among the batters.

Meanwhile, 34-year-old Dambulla leg spinner Malinda Pushpakumara came on top of the bowlers having 18 wickets with best figures of 7 for 120 in their last game against Kandy. Pushpakumara also crossed overpass 800 wickets in his first-class career while finishing with a match bag of 12 wickets in this game and today Pushpakumara once again hopes to give a good performance against Jaffna at Galle wicket. However, two Colombo spinners Prabath Jayasuriya (leg spinner) with 15 wickets in second place, and off-spinner Lakishitha Manasinghe with 12 wickets are going to be a real challenge for the Galle team. Galle also have the services of off-spinner Chanaka Ruwansiri having 12 wickets so far in this tournament while the openers Sangeeth Cooray and Pabasdara Waduge both centurions of this tournament and skipper Dhananjaya Lakshan who is going to play his home ground in Galle today expected to end this game to come on top of the League.

Meanwhile, two paceman Kasun Rajitha of Colombo and Asitha Fernando of Kandy have 11 wickets each, and young Kandy off-spinner Ashain Daniel is in 7th place among the bowlers with 10 wickets. Especially Rajitha and Asitha Fernando is looking to come back for the National side for the next Bangladesh Test series and their performances are always vital for the selections as Suranga Lakmal retired from International cricket after the Indian Test series.

Team standings 1. Kandy (42.24 points), 2. Colombo (39.64 points), 3. Galle (32.89 points), 4. Jaffna (19.88 points ), 5.Dambulla (13.22 points).

Best batting performances 1. Kamindu Mendis (Kandy) 649 runs, 2. Oshada Fernando (Kandy) 476 runs, 3. Sahan Arachchige (Kandy) 363 runs, 4. Lahiru Udara (Kandy) 343 runs, 5. Minod Bhanuka (Dambulla) 317 runs, 6. Sangeeth Cooray (Galle) 281 runs, 7.Pabasara Waduge (Galle) 275 runs.

Best bowling performances 1. Malinda Pushpakumara (Dambulla) 18 wickets, 2. Prabath Jayasuriya (Colombo) 15 wickets, 3.Lakshitha Manasinghe (Colombo) 12 wickets, 4. Chanaka Ruwansiri (Galle) 12 wickets, 5. Kasun Rajitha (Colombo) 11 wickets, 6. Asitha Fernando (Kandy) 11 wickets, 7. Ashain Daniel (Kandy) 10 wickets

Thursday, March 24, 2022 – 01:00

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