Special Sports Corr. in Kandy
The clouds of uncertainty and indecision have cleared. The 112th match in the Kingswood-Dharmaraja series will in fact take place at the Pallekele Stadium today and tomorrow (16th and 17th).
Maurice Fernando’s Kingswood team of 1958 holds a special place in the minds of the Randles Hill faithful. Justifiably so, as they were the last team to beat Dharmaraja in the Big Match. It’s going on sixty years, and Ganidu Kaushalya’s team would dearly love to put an end to the barrenness. Can they?
Don’t be fooled by Dharmaraja’s poor record in 2017/18. They are a better side than their six outright defeats suggest. They seemed to have turned the corner when they beat the Sylvestrians. But Malinda almost brought them down to earth.
Skipper Bavantha Udangamuwe, a powerful striker of the ball, was part of the problem, initially. His contributions was modest. He perked up often a few games and produced the goods - 89 (Wesley), 82 (Richmond) and forties against Royal, St. Peter’s and Nalanda. A run-making Udangmuwe makes a big difference to the team.
Rukmal Dissanayake, the deputy, has a best of 5-81 against Gurukula. A left arm spinner in a team that has two more of that type, he seemed to have drawn the short straw. He is a stubborn late order bat.
Opener Kasun Gunawardena has been around for some time. He has half centuries against Dharmapala, Mahinda and a good double (40, 72) against the Sylvestrians.
Left-hander Dulaj Bandara represents the Rajans’ main strike force, with there sixties, a seventy and an eighty. A good player, he has come along wall. Another senior, Sachchinta Senanayake has not made the runs expected of him, save for a 104n.o. against Wesley. Isuru Dayananda made a hundred for the Rajans, with a knock of 116 (Maliyadeva).
Chetiya Ekanayake (top-score 67) and Yasitha Samararatne, an useful all rounder are expected to bolster the side.
Paceman Navindu Dilshan has taken wickets but not in heaps. Partner Virajith Ehelepola ran through the Sylvestrians with a bag of 5-42. He is a useful late-order bat.
The success story for Dharmaraja has been scripted by left-arm spinner Upendra Warnakulasooriya. A consistent wicket taker, he has many impressive performances. Chief among them are a match bag of 10 for 69 against St. Sylvester’s, 6 for 57 (St. Servatius’) and 5 for 46 (Richmond).
Kingswood’s caption Ganidu Kaushalya who missed some matches on account of injury, has been doing his bit with bat and ball. He made a hundred against Kegalu MV. However, he needs to come up with something big even as he did in the 2017 game when he took 7-62 with his off breaks.
Saumya Piyasena led the team smartly when Kaushalya was missing. He too has chipped in with useful efforts. His best with the ball was 5-62 against Royal, while he made a crucial 53 (Piliyandala) and a 42 against Wesley.
Achala Bogodawatta is a certurion (110 not out against St. Thomas’ Matale). Further, he has made some scores in the thirties and forties.
Dananjaya Maduranga is, probably, Kingswood’s leading batsman. He made a top-score of 59 against Tissa MV. Forties and thirties have also been forthcoming.
Kingswood has a fairly effective pair of opening bowlers in Deegayu Bandara and Utpala Jayalath. Bandara’s match bag of 10-45 against Dharmaloka was a particularly impressive effort. For good measure, he took a five for against the Anthonians.
The chief wicket taken has been that little left-arm spinner Lakmal de Silva. His best effort was the match bog of 10-94 (Siri Piyaratne). He has five wicket hauls against Kegalu MV, Wesley and St. Thomas’, Matale. The team expects him to be the destroyer in chief in the Big Match.
All rounder Harshana Wickramasinghe has made many contributions with bat and ball. He bowls good line and length stuff. Senior player Duleen Wijenarayana has not obliged with the bat, while Kushan Vithanarachchi has been useful.
Hashika Gamage makes some runs at the top. All told, the batting has not come good.
Last year, a splendid bowling effort (7-62) by the current captain Ganidu Kaushalya helped Kingswood to take a six run lead on the first innings.
Kingswood won over Dharmaloka, Piliyandala and St. John’s, Panadura but lost to St. Anthony’s, Welsey, St. John’s, Jaffna and Tissa Central.
Kingswood (From): Ganidu Kaushalya (Capt.), Saumya Piyasena, Duleen Wijenarayana, Deegayu Bandara, Lakmal de Silva, Utpala Jayalath, Achala Bogodawatta, Hashika Gamage, Dananjaya Maduranga, Duminda Damishka, Kushan Vithanaarachchi, Harshana Wickremasinghe, Kasun Madhawa, Devinda Dissanayake, Binura Rajapakse. Officials: Coach – Indika Fernando, MiC – Sarath Ekanayake.
Dharmaraja (From): Bavantha Udaugamuage (Capt.), Sachchintha Senanayake, Rukmal Dissanayake, Kasun Gunawardena, Dulaj Bandara, Upendra Warnakulasuriya, Isuru Dayananda, Navindu Dilshan, Virajith Ehelepola, Yositha Samaranatne, Chetiya Ekanayake, Lakshita Pannala, Mithila Gayashan, Dhanuka Ratnayake, Dhanuka Marasinghe. Officials: Coach – U.S.C. Perera, MiC – Saliya Samarawickrema.
Old Kingswoodians annual Dinner Dance on March 25
The Annual Dinner Dance organised by the Old Kingswoodians Sports Club will be held after the One Day Game on March 25. It will not be held on Match 17 as earlier planned.