After disappointing results at the last “Battle of the Maroons” encounter, Dharmaraja will look for a turnaround of luck this time around under the captaincy of Deshan Gunasinghe and hope toannihilate the Kingswoodians in their 111th annual big-match which is to be held at the Pallekele International Cricket stadium on the 17th and 18th March 2017.
Bit of History
In the Rajans recorded history, the first match of cricket was said to have been played in the year 1892. Since then they have come a long way, recording 34 big match outright wins against rivals Kingswood College, to date. Dharmaraja played their first big match under Sir Don Baron Jayathilake in the year 1893 at Bogambara. The school team has had its ups and downs in their long history of 111 years. The last time they lost a big match was in the year 1958.
Dharmaraja boasts of producing players in the caliber of Chamara Kapugedara and Sandun Weerakkodi who are currently in the national set up, Nuwan Karunarathna, D.D.P Alwis, T.B Kehelgamuwa (Former national player and chairman of the cricket board).
The Season as it happened
Dharmaraja has had a reasonable season so far, having played 13 matches to date, with results of 1 outright win, 5 first innings wins, 5 draws and two losses as well. The team composition includes 4 batsman, 5 Fast bowlers, 3 Spinners and 6 all-rounders. Having lost on first innings to Kingswood in the longer format and the one day match after a cliffhanger of a game, the boys are looking for a complete turnaround of events this time around with the team they possess.
Deshan Gunasinghe has risen to the captaincy role this season after having held the deputy role last season. He has really impressed the onlookers with his batting this time although he is suffering from a slight hamstring injury. The left hander has piled up 853 runs in 18 innings. His tally consists of a century and 5 half centuries. Apart from him, the two top run getters for the Rajans have been Bawantha Udangamuwa and Gihan Vitharana. Dilshan Navinda has also made some hefty contributions in vital situations with the bat for them.
In the bowling department, the Rajans have yet again produced a reasonable performance. Gihan Vitharana, the vice-captain, leads the pack with 53 wickets to his name which consists of 2 five wicket hauls. Upendra Warnakulasuriya is also another bowler to watch out for as he bowls a good line and length which gets him more wickets than his variations of pace. Deshan Gunasinghe has also been amongst the wickets with his right arm off spinners.
Dharmaraja possesses a well-balanced, all round team and will be looking to turn the tables against Kingswood, who have had the upper hand over them this season. If they do succeed this will be the 35th time overall that they take home the T.B. Tennekoon memorial trophy. The team looks well balanced and has peaked at the right time for the big match where they will look to continue their dominance over their opponents as they have done on more occasions than not.