The semi-finals of the National Super League 4 day cricket tournament will commence tomorrow (31) while Colombo will take on Jaffna at Hambantota and Kandy will battle with Galle at Pallekele in their semi finals.
After the league round Colombo came on top with 56.505 points having three out right victories out of 4 matches. However Colombo led by Dimuth Karunartatne have to face big challenge as few of their players tested positive for Covid 19 and they could have missed this important semi final. The players final test reports decide their availability at this semi final. The presence of Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis (after Indian test series) give more strength to the side. The Colombo key leg spinner Prabath Jayasuriya who is having highest wickets (26)in this tournament leading their bowling attack while Jayasuriya also expected his final report yesterday to clear his illness. The Colombo paceman Kasun Rajitha also among the wickets having 11 wickets is in sixth place among the bowlers while off spinner Lakshitha Manasinghe with 15 wickets is the front line off spinner of Colombo side. Skipper Dimuth Karunaraten who made a match winning century in their last game against Galle once again has to get responsibility in this semi final while Kusal Mendis, Roshen Silva (subjected to clear medical report) are the other experienced batters of the Colombo side.
Jaffna led by Dhananjaya de Silva recorded first innings points over Colombo in their first league match at same venue and they scored tournament highest team total of 555 runs at Hambantota and they are ready to face against same opponents Colombo in this semi final. Janith Liyanage, Sadeera Samarawickrma, Saminda Fernando and Santhush Liyanage are their key batters while experienced paceman Nuwan Pradeep who took best figures of 7 for 52 in their last game against Dambulla is leading their bowling attack with leg spinners Jeffry Vandasay and Dilum Sudeera.
Meanwhile Kandy (second place with 42.235 pts) led by Kamindu Mendis are ready to take challenge against Galle in their semi final at Pallekele. Kandy has big advantage with their strong batting line up with skipper Mendis leading from the front already highest scorer of this tournament having 649 runs with three centuries while Oshada Fernando 476 runs is on second place and Sahan Arachchige 363 runs is in fourth place and Lahiru Udara having 343 runs in sixth place. In addition Niroshan Dikwella the inform wicket keeper batsman who missed last matches due to National duty expected to join the Kandy team to give them a boost at this semi final. The Kandy paceman Asitha Fernando already having 11 wickets in this tournament is expected to take an early breakthrough at Pallekele wicket.
Galle side led by Dinesh Chandimal finished third place after league round expected to strengthen the side with the presence of Angelo Mathews at this semi final. They lost their last game against Colombo but ready to come back at this semi final. Galle openers Pabasara Waduge 343 runs with two centuries and Sangeeth Cooray having 338 runs with a century are in good form while Dhananjaya Lakshan and Priyamal Perera also among the runs in this series. The young leg spinner Praveen Jayawickrama who missed last matches due to National duty once again expected to join this semi final while off spinners Akila Dhananjaya and Suminda Lakshan already among the wickets also add more strength to the bowling department. However Galle playing their first game at Pallekele while Kandy have more advantage as they already played more matches at Pallekele at this four day tournament.
The winners of the two semi final matches will meet in the final scheduled to be played at the Galle International Cricket Stadium from April 7 to 10. Prize money worth Rs. 7.5 million is on offer. The winning team will collect a cheque for Rs. 5 million and the runner-up a cheque for Rs. 2.5 million. In addition individual awards of Rs. 500,000 for the Player of the Tournament and Rs. 250,000 each for Best Batsman and Best Bowler of the tournament are on offer.
Best batting performances: 1. Kamindu Mendis (Kandy) 649 runs, 2. Oshada Fernando (Kandy) 476 runs, 3. Minod Bhanuka (Dambulla) 418 runs, 4. Sahan Arachchige (Kandy) 363 runs, 5.Pabasara Waduge (Galle) 343 runs, 6. Lahiru Udara(Kandy) 343 runs
Best bowling performances: 1. Prabath Jayasuriya (Colombo) 26 wickets, 2. Malinda Pushpakumara (Dambulla) 24 wickets , 3. Lakshitha Manasinghe (Colombo) 15 wickets , 4. Chanaka Ruwansiri (Galle) 15 wickets, 6. Kasun Rajitha(Colombo) 11 wickets, 7. Asitha Fernando (Kandy) 11 wickets.