Sri Lanka won campus cricket world cup 2016
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Business Management School (BMS), Colombo – 191 for 9, 20 overs; Liyanarachchi 52 (27), Arifur Rehman 3-20
University of Liberal Arts, Bangladesh (ULAB) – 167 for 8, 20 overs; Hasanuzzaman 39 (32), Jayawickrama 4-27
All-rounder Ranitha Liyanarrachchi plucked BMS Colombo from a mid-innings funk, propelled them to an imposing 191 for 9, and then made the first dent in University of Liberal Arts’ chase, putting the Sri Lankan students on track for their first Red Bull Campus Cricket title, in Galle on Sunday.
Liyanarachchi’s 52 from 27 balls had come just as the ULAB’s spin bowlers appeared to be seizing control of the middle-overs, as they had done in the semi-final against the team from Pakistan. But Liyanarachchi struck up productive partnerships with the tail, scything boundaries through the late overs, to take BMS to a score that would prove 24 too many for the opposition.
Having also recently represented BMS in Rugby Sevens, in a tournament in Malaysia, Liyanarachchi said was unfazed by a score line of 108 for 6 at his arrival, in the 14th over. BMS had lost three big wickets for 18 runs when he arrived at the crease. “I didn’t try to think too much about the wickets that had fallen,” he said. “We were struggling but it was not just about BMS it was about the pride of Sri Lanka. Luckily I got a couple of fours away at the start of my innings, so that gave me the confidence to keep trying those expansive shots, and I have to thank my teammates who batted really well with me.”
ULAB’s cricketers were visibly upset at the finish, but can be proud of having put together one of the most inspiring and unexpected campaigns in the tournament’s five-year history. Captain Mohammad Hasanuzzaman showcased the panache that has made him a rising batting star in Bangladesh, clattering two sixes and two fours in his 39 at the top of the order. He and Avishek Mishra had put on an 88-run partnership for the second wicket, but the batting fell away quickly after that. Having already prevailed in tense finishes over sides from South Africa and Pakistan, a third underdog victory was beyond them. Left-arm spinner Ariful Rehman did finish the tournament’s highest wicket-taker however, claiming 13 scalps in all.
The addition of two international players to the BMS squad had lent an edge to the pre-match buzz, but neither Dhananjaya de Silva, nor Dasun Shanaka, made definitive contributions in the match. De Silva batted with characteristic poise for 32, in which the high notes were three serene sixes down the ground. Following those blows, he was largely forced to settle into a rhythm of singles into the outfield however, as BMS lost three wickets before the end of the seventh over.
He and Shanaka put on put on 31 from 22 balls for the fourth wicket – Shanaka playing prime aggressor as he cracked two fours and a six in a charmed 19 that featured a dropped catch and a missed run out chance. When he was eventually caught, slogging left-arm wrist-spinner Mohammed Islam to deep midwicket, de Silva followed immediately next ball, top edging a cut to backward point. The Bangladesh students were jubilant, having restricted two batsmen of international quality to a cumulative score of 51. Shanaka, it would turn out, would leak as many runs as he made in a single new-ball over, and was not bowled again.
Arriving soon after the team’s star players had perished in successive deliveries, Liyanarachchi was particularly severe on errors of length, unfurling rasping cuts off the spin bowlers, and slinking down the pitch to loft them over the long on fence, which he did twice, to offspinner Anjum Ahmed in the 17th over. He signed up lower-order batsmen Thilaksha Sumanasiri and Madushan Ravichandrakuma as sidekicks, having them turn strike over to him in partnerships that were worth 39 for the seventh wicket, and 37 for the eighth.
Hasanuzzaman’s early charge, particularly against bowling of Shanaka’s quality, was typical of spirit of ULAB’s campaign. In a scintillating stand with Avishek Mitra, Hasanuzzaman played perhaps the game’s most memorable shot, when he hooked a Liyanarachchi boundary into the western bank of the ground. Liyanarachchi had already dismissed opener Sabit Hossain, but he said the key dismissal was that of Mitra in the eighth over, to end a rampant stand.
“We heard about them having three good batsmen,” Liyanarachchi said. “Going out we wanted to keep them under 50 in the first six overs, but they began really well. Then Chamika Karunarathne got that wicket and their heads went down.”
The ULAB side would go on to lose five wickets for 25 runs, in what would turn out to be a definitive portion of the chase. Offspinner Koshan Jayawickrama was especially effective, returning 4 for 27 from his four overs. Janith Liyanage delivered the 20th over, but with the match effectively settled, the Sri Lanka students had already begun to celebrate, and both the team, and a large group of supporters charged the field, just after the last ball was delivered.