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Rain may spoil Joes and Richmond battle

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Under 19 Division One Tier A Cricket Final:
Bhanuka Manohara (Richmond captain)-Shevon Daniel (St. Joseph's captain)

The defending champions, St. Joseph’s, Colombo, packed with more all-rounders will be looking to retain the title but Richmond College Galle is expected to pose a strong challenge in their Under 19 Division One Tier ‘A’ cricket final which is scheduled to be played today (20) at Police Park grounds Bambalapitiya. However, both teams have to fight against rain today.

Josephians came to the final with an unbeaten record while their skipper Shevon Daniel, former skipper Dunith Wellalage, and opener Sadeesh Jayawardena are the three national under 19 players who will pose a threat to any opponent side and Richmond bowlers have to get these three vital wickets early. In the comparison of the two sides, Josephians have a slight edge but the Richmond team should not be underestimated as they have a good fighting spirit, especially, since their spin department is very strong and proved their ability in the semi-final.

St. Joseph’s advanced to the quarter-final as group champions winning all their five matches. They beat Wesley in the quarter-final and defeated De Mazenod by five wickets at the semi-final played at Surrey grounds Maggona. Earlier, they beat St. Anthony’s Katugastota, S. Thomas’ Mt. Lavinia, St. Sebastians’ Moratuwa, St. Thomas’ Matara, and St. Benedict’s Kotahena in the first round to finish group champions.

Meanwhile, Richmond advanced to the quarter-final as runner-up of their group with 3 wins from 4 matches. They beat St. Anne’s Kurunegala, Wesley, and D.S. Senanayake Colombo. They lost to Nalanda Colombo in a high-scoring game played at Hambantota. Richmond beat St. Anthony’s Katugastota in the quarter-final and they put up a superb fight in the semi-final against Mahanama which they won by 139 runs at Reid Avenue. Richmond scored 202 in this semi-final and they restricted Mahanama for 63 runs with the two spinners Sharon Abhishek, Tharinda Nirmal, and paceman Kalpa Nethsara doing the damage.

St. Joseph’s wicket-keeper Sadeesh Jayawardena and Hirun Kapurubandara two openers are in fine form to lay a good foundation while skipper Shevon Daniel, Dunith Wellalage, Hiran Jayasundara, and Muditha Lakshan strengthen their batting department and St. Joseph’s scored 316 for 8 wickets against St. Benedict’s at the League round proving their batting strength.

The experienced leg spinner Dunith Wellalage is the highest wicket-taker while off-spinners Shevon Daniel and Lahiru Amarasekara are among the wickets this season. Two paceman Deshan Seneviratne, Mithira Thenura, leg spinners Muditha Lakshan and young Yenula Dewthusa also comprise the bowling department of the side.

Meanwhile, the prolific stroke maker Bhanuka Manohara the skipper of Richmond is not at his best form during their early matches but he could come back in this final. He used his experience during their big match against Mahinda to get more confidence before this important final. The inform openers Vishara Fernando highest scorer of this tournament and Tharinda Nirmal have a big responsibility to make a good start at this final.

The 15-year-old Thamindu Pradeeptha and Nirmal hit two half-centuries in the semi-final against Mahanama while wicketkeeper Janeth Kaushal and Malsha Tharupathi are capable of making runs to strengthen their middle order. Richmond’s two pacemen Kalpa Netsara and Hansamana de Silva have a responsibility to get the early breakthrough while their spin department is packed with leg spinners: Sharon Abhishek, Nalaka Jayawardena, and Malsha Tharupathi are among the wickets which is a good advantage for Richmond. The off-spinner Tharinda Nirmal who was the match-winner having 4 for 21 and scoring 59 runs at the semi-final against Mahanama once again performed well at the big match two days ago and his all-round performance is a big boost for Richmond.

St. Joseph’s coached by Dilan Ramanayake is confident of retaining the title but Richmond coached by Lakmal de Silva is ready to take up this challenge and their winning semi-final against Mahanama is a big boost to the team. However, the weather could be the deciding factor in this final. If rain affects the game the two teams will be declared joint champions.

The teams

Richmond: Bhanuka Manohara (Captain), Kalpa Nethsara (Vice Captain), Kavindu Nirmana, Vishara Fernando, Tharinda Nirmal, Ruwan Jayawardena, Janeth Kaushal(wk) Maheesha Vethmin, Hansamana de Silva, Sharon Abishek, Malsha Tharupathi, Thamindu Pradeeptha, Chehan Subasinghe, Sihath Ramanayake, Imesh Sasindu, Seneth Sisan, Kaveesha Induwara, Sanahas Ramindu, Manuja Dulneth, Stephan Selvanayagam, Nuwan Jayasinghe (Master-in-charge), Lakmal de Silva (Head Coach), Umal Durage (Coach), Dinusha Jayasanka (Coach).

St. Joseph’s: Shevon Daniel (Captain), Dunith Wellalage, Sadeesh Jayawardana, Hirun Kapurubandara, Mithira Thenura, Hiran Jayasundara, Yenula Dewthusa, L. Dissanayake, Rishma Amarasinghe, Deshan Senevirathne, Lahiru Amarasekara, Abhishek Jayaweera, Kenath Sasmina, Shenuk Serasinghe, Senodh Dulvin Soysa, Dineth Jayakody, Asiri Caldera (Master-in-Charge), Dilan Ramanayake (Head Coach), Kavindu Perera (Coach), Lahiru Wickramasinghe (Coach).

Wednesday, April 20, 2022 – 01:00

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