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LPL 2021 | Chandimal’s lone ranger not enough as Colombo suffer narrowest defeat in league’s history

It was a case of so close and yet so far for the Colombo Stars as they suffered a 1 run defeat against Dambulla Giants in the Lanka Premier League 2021. This is now the narrowest margin of defeat by runs in the league’s two-season history. 

Colombo’s Dinesh Chandimal, who probably played the innings of the season so far, scoring an unbeaten 65 off just 40 balls, when only one other batter was able to get onto the double figures, was the star of the game but finished on the losing side.

When Chandimal walked in to bat, Stars’ skipper Dhananjaya de Silva was batting on 15 off 16 balls and the team was struggling at 38-4, needing 101 from 73 balls with the Giants’ spinners tightening the grip ever so effectively. 

The experienced and most reliable duo then started building the partnership to chase down 139. Having added 32 off 26 balls, the partnership was broken by a brilliant catch at the boundary ropes from Chamika Karunaratne off the bowling of Tharindu Ratnayake. 

Chandimal though started teeing off just after the fall of that wicket even as wickets kept falling from the other end. He completed his 25th T20 fifty on the way and almost got his team to a win. 

From 52 needed off 24 balls, it was only the brilliance of the 32-year old that he brought down the target to 13 off the last over even as the 18th over by Imran Tahir brought only four runs. 

In the last over too, he started well by hitting a four of the first ball, with 8 needed from four balls, Dushmantha Chameera got out and now eight runs were required off the three balls, Chandimal played a dot and the target came to 8 off two, before two runs were taken off the penultimate ball to bring the equation to a heroic requirement, six off the last ball to win. 

The final ball was a length ball, slightly rising, but there to be hit. However, Chandimal had already shifted towards the offside, but he controlled himself, swivelled on one foot and then raised it over the fine-leg boundary only to find it falling just a few yards short of the ropes and going for a four. 

Chandimal was on his knees and then fell flat on the ground as all his efforts has come to zero as his team remained bottom of the table after the one-run loss. 

Earlier in the evening, after winning the toss and deciding to bat first, the team from Dambulla had a good start, but couldn’t relay convert it. At the start of the innings, they were 48 without loss in the first five overs. 

But once they lost both openers in Phil Salt and Nisroshan Dickwella in quick succession, the wickets just kept falling. In the end, they could only get up to 138-9 in 20 overs. Dickwella top-scored for Stars with 30 off 16 balls.

Experienced Jeffrey Vandersay picked up three wickets with his leg spinners while another leggie Seekuge Prasanna picked two wickets as well. West Indian import for Stars, Ravi Rampaul, who was taken for cleaners early on, also came back well and picked three wickets.

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Super Smash | Anurag Verma’s superb penultimate over in vain as Chu and McKenzie take Otago over the line

It was a riveting Super Smash 2021-22 encounter at the University Oval in Dunedin between the Northern Knights and home side Otago Volts as the latter emerged victorious in the last over with only three wickets to spare. Max Chu, the wicket-keeper batter and Angus McKenzie, a bowler who came to bat at number nine turned out to be the heroes even as experienced Neil Broom made a sincere effort with the bat, but was before finishing the job. It was Chu and McKenzie who kept their nerves and hit Scott Kuggeleijn, one of the most sought after T20 bowlers for two sixes in the last over when Volts required 10 to win off six balls. However, before that fateful over, Anurag Verma, the tall and slim fast bowler from Hamilton nearly won the Knights this game with his brilliant 19th over in which he gave only four runs and took key wickets of Michael Rippon and well-settled Broom, who was batting on 62 and looking to get his team over the line. In the previous over (18th) too, only four runs were conceded by Matthew Fisher and the wicket Llew Johnson was also taken to build the pressure on the Volts. The Volts didn’t really have a good start to the chase as they lost Hamish Rutherford and Josh Finnie early on. It was then that Anaru Kitchen got together with Broom and the duo added 45 for the third wicket. Though Kitchen departed, Broom continued to anchor the innings and found support in Llew Johnson. The pair added 46th for the fifth wicket as Broom also completed his fifty on the way. For Knights, apart from Verma’s two wickets, Fisher and Frederick Walker picked two each as well. Among these three bowlers, they conceded only 66 runs in their 12 overs while defending 146. However, Kugglein was the most expensive, giving away 51 runs in just 3.4 overs. Earlier in the day, Otago won the toss and asked Knights to bat first. Katene Clarke and Tim Seifert gave the team a rocking start, reaching 39 in the first four overs before Seifert was eventually removed. From there on it became difficult for Clarke to find support even though Henry Cooper made run a ball 24. Both of them getting out together didn’t help the cause of the team from the north. From 95-2, they were suddenly 95-4 with two completely new men at the crease. If it wasn’t for Verma and Kugglein’s run a ball 22 and 14 respectively, even reaching 146 would have been difficult for the Knights as they were reduced to 104-6 in the 14th over. For Otago, Josh Finnie and Michael Rippon picked two wickets each while Kitchen was economical to the core, giving away only 19 runs in his four overs and taking the wicket of Jeet Raval. This was Otago’s first win in the competition having lost one game and one match being washed out. For Knights, they are still to register a win as they have lost one game and one match has been washed out.


PAK vs WI | Chase, Cottrell, Kyle Mayers test Covid positive on landing in Karachi

Three West Indies players Sheldon Cottrell, Roston Chase and Kyle Mayers have tested positive for the Covid-19 on landing in Karachi, Pakistan where the team is scheduled to play three T20Is and three ODIs, the first one starting on Monday, December 13. The tests were done on December 9 when the Caribbean team arrived and along with the trio, a non-coaching member of the team management was also found positive for the virus. It has yet not been revealed whether the variant of the Covid was Omicron. The entire four members of the squad will undergo self-isolation and will subsequently be unavailable for the three-match T20I series. The unavailability of the three players, who were a sure shot selection in the playing XI given that the regular skipper Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell were already unavailable for the series, makes the West Indies’ prospect even slimmer against a string Pakistan T20 unit. The cases were done public on the confirmation from Johnny Grave, the CEO of Cricket West Indies. He said, "Our arrival testing protocols in Pakistan have confirmed four (4) Covid-19 positives.” “These were confirmed whilst the players and staff were still in room isolation, so despite this significant setback to our preparation plans, we are confident that the tour can continue as everyone else returned negative PCRs prior to their arrival in Pakistan and two negative PCRs since they have been in Karachi,” added Grave.