After the centenary Big Match encounter concluding in a no result, the rivalry will be narrowed down to the limited overs as Trinity College will meet the Antonians at Asgiriya for the 37th Sir Richard Aluwihare trophy.

Traces of last year’s annihilation still remain fresh in the minds where the Antonians were bundled out for a cheap 89 runs in 31 overs and coming into bat, the Trinitians chased down the target in a lapse of 10 overs.

The win from Trinity resulted in them taking the top spot in the tally of the total number of wins having secured 18 as opposed to 17 by St. Anthony’s. The 2014 encounter concluded as a draw.

The centenary encounter that was played last week at Pallekelle had a disappointing end due to the bad weather that was prevalent on both days. Trinity College scored 270 for their first innings and the encounter was called off when the Antonians were 99 for the loss of 6 wickets.

With the weather gods depriving entertaining cricket in the two-dayer, both teams will be expected to play to their potential in the 50-over fixture.

On paper, Trinity College will go down as favourites ahead of the match with them being the impressive team. The two top scorers from the centenary fixture, Hasitha Boyagoda and Shanogeeth Shanmuganathan will be looking to exploit the Antonian bowlers at Asgiriya.

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The quick firing Boyagoda was the highlight in the batting department scoring 90 runs in the Trinity 1st innings that included 6 fours and 2 sixes.

The hard-hitting Shanogeeth who also picked up two important wickets in last year’s encounter will be the key player this time around. Captaining the 37th encounter with 83 runs to his name at the big match, Shanogeeth will be eyeing to finish his captaincy stint on a high note.

>> Read more about the 36th Encounter
Caption: Shanogeeth (R) and Boyagoda (L) in action in the centenary
Caption: Shanogeeth (R) and Boyagoda (L) in action in the centenary

The Antonians will need to rely on their top order to put up a formidable score on board. Their openers Sunera Jaysinghe along with Theeksha Gunasinghe will need to steady their top order while middle order batsman Janidu Himsara who was the top scorer for the Antonians in the 100th encounter will have an important role to play.

The conditions at Pallekelle should be an even wicket favouring both the batsmen and the bowlers but a downpour of rain might change things around.

Janidu Himsara scored an important 34 in the big match
Janidu Himsara scored an important 34 in the big match

Trinity’s bowling department will be spearheaded by Rashmika Thisaru who was impressive in the two-dayer along with specialist spinner Vimukthi Kotikawatte. With Shanogeeth and Shuaib Salahudeen also in the squad, Trinity has with them a strong bowling department.

The Antonians however have found themselves a mystery bowler at the big-match; Mohammed Alawi. Being drafted in the squad overnight, Alawi struck thrice in the Trinity innings to take out the important wickets of Shanogeeth and Boyagoda. Experienced bowler Sandaruwan Dharmarathne will need to work his magic along with Sathish Wickramarachchi this weekend.

Final words

Regardless of what is on paper, the Antonians are never predictable when they confront the Lions. This was evident in the past few encounters such as the one in 2015 where Lahiru Kumara won it for the side in the final two overs.

The last time St. Anthony’s won the Sir Richard Aluwihare trophy was in 2012 under the captaincy of Kanishka Ranaraja and Mohammed Alfar is all out to turn things around after 5 years.

>> Read about how Trinity’s Lahiru won it with the bat at the limited overs encounter

It will be an even tussle at Asgiriya but the high spirited Trinity outfit should be having a better hand in the game and if the weather stays in favourable, we will have an exciting day of cricket.