Tournament opener ends in a thrilling tie

On a day that simply beggared belief, South Eastern University (SAU) tied with Mora in an incredible match in Moratuwa. Thilina Kasun was Mora's inspiration, producing a crucial hat trick on 23rd over to remove confidently looking Nufail and to turn the match from ending as a one-sided affair to a thrilling tie. The match was supposed to take place on Saturday but due to rain only 10 overs were bowled on that day but the remaining match was played out on this sunny Sunday morning.

Due to rain the match was shortened to 26 over contest. Mora won the toss and elected to bat first. Nevinda Dilshan and skipper Vihanga Kalhara opened the batting for Mora .Nufail Ahmed opened the bowling for SAU in an aggressive manner. Nufail Ahmed's aggressive bowling paid off when Pathira took two wickets from the other end using the pressure built by Nufail. Nevinda Dilshan and Osura Mahadiulwewa returned to pavilion with single digit scores. After that skipper Vihanga and Hishan Wickramasinghe counterattacked SAU with a flurry of boundaries.

When Vihanga set for a big innings he threw away his wicket by giving a simple catch to cover fielder. In quick time Hishan also departed for a handy 28 ball 22. Both of these wickets were taken by Thenuwara. Mora felt the need of acceleration when they were 76-4 after 15 overs. So they promoted Chandula up the order to play some big shots but he fell for a duck trying to hit out of the park. Thilina Kasun too went for a duck in quick time. As the wickets were tumbling on the other end Hirusha Balapitiya played beautifully with quick singles and occasional boundaries but he ran out of partners. After Thilina, Dinith was caught at point region when he was at 6 runs. When the innings was nearing the end SAU introduced Polwatta a right arm fast bowler with a slingy action very similar to Lasith Malinga. Dushmantha who usually bats at 5 came at 9 but he could not score any run. During the last over of the innings Hirusha tried to go big, but he was caught at long on. Mora was bowled out for 121 runs. Hirusha top scored for Mora with 44 valuable runs. For SAU Thenuwara bowled excellently and took four wickets for 21 runs.

SAU openers Balasooriya and Salika started slowly with a cautious approach. Chandula bowled excellent line and length, consistently beating the outside edge. There was lot of play and misses from the batsman because they couldn’t tackle the line and angle bowled by Chandula. Pressure was mounted on the batsman with each dot ball. Balasooriya tried to break the shackles by launching a big shot, but he ended up giving a low catch to the mid-on fielder Osura. Osura ended Sakila’s stay at the crease with another great catch .Sakila took 40 balls to reach 18 runs. Both of these wickets came off the bowling of Thilanka Dilhan. After the early struggles, SAU dominated the chase with some brave batting from Nufail and Nuwan. Both of them scored at a brisk rate. When these two players were at the crease victory was in sight of SAU. Nuwan was caught by Osura when he was at 24 runs. Even at that point SAU was well placed at 89-4 in 18 overs. Nufail and Rajapakse rotated strike cleverly brought the equation down 22 runs off 24 balls. Skipper asked Thilina to bowl the 23rd over. Thilina single-handedly turned the match in favor of Mora by taking hat trick of wickets including Nufail. Thilina deceived the batsman with his subtle variations. At the end of 23rd over SAU needed 16 runs off 18 balls to win the match with 3 wickets in hand. Tail Enders tried their best to take the game to last over. 2 more wickets fell during the 25th over. SAU needed 5 runs in the last over to win the match but Mora were in need of only one wicket to seal off the match. Mora skipper asked Hirusha to bowl the last over. From the first four balls of the over batsman took 4 runs. When SAU needed 1 run off 2 balls batsman went for a big shot and stumped by the keeper. So at the end of the match both teams were leveled at the score so the match ended in a tie. Mora will be the happier team because at one point SAU was cruising towards victory but the hat-trick pulled things dramatically and ended in a tie.  

Article by: G.Ganeshaaraj

Edited by: Janani Kulasekara

Sponsored by: Millennium IT
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