The Super Provincial Limited Over Tournament 2017 organized by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) came to a close last Saturday with Colombo clinching the trophy beating Galle in the final played under lights at the R. Premadasa International Stadium.
Dinesh Chandimal struck a fighting century as team Colombo beat team Galle to..
The three-week tournament dished out some stunning cricket with over 60 players representing 4 teams making their bid for the title. Here’s our take on the Team of the Tournament.
Sadeera Samarawickrama – Galle
The stylish 21-year old right-hander ended as the second highest run-getter in the tournament and bagged the Best Batsman of the Tournament award as well. The former Josephian amassed 343 runs in 7 matches with an average of 49. He got his account going with a fine 109 against Kandy in the tournament opener and showcased his talent and temperament with a well-compiled 120 in a must-win game against Dambulla.
Samarawickrama also holds the record for the most number of fours (39) in the tournament and is surely one to watch out for. Apart from his batting prowess at the top of the order, Samarawickrama held on to 9 catches and completed 8 stumpings and we’ve gone with him as the wicket-keeper of this team.
Despite stiff competition from other wicket-keepers who opened the batting in the tournament, such as Kusal Janith Perera, Lahiru Milantha and Sandun Weerakkody, Samarawickrama’s selection to this XI is based purely on his brilliant performance.
21-year old opening batsman Sadeera Samarawickrama stroked a fluent century to help Galle crush…
Dilshan Munaweera – Colombo
The hard-hitting opening batsman provided Colombo with robust starts in almost every game, a factor which helped them clinch the title. Munaweera slammed 275 runs in 7 games at an average of almost 40. His exceptional strike-rate of 120 stands out from the rest of the openers such as Upul Tharanga and Danushka Gunathilaka, who were the other candidates to partner Samarawickrama.
Despite two failures in the start of the tournament, Munaweera ended up as the sixth highest run-getter in the tournament, scoring 3 belligerent fifties. Munaweera’s 54-ball 86 against Galle in a group stage game set the platform for the highest run chase of the tournament as Colombo hunted down 299 under lights at the R. Premadasa.
All-rounder Shehan Jayasuriya and fast-bowler Vishwa Fernando produced stellar performances to help Colombo…
Dimuth Karunarathne – Galle
Sri Lanka’s premier Test opening batsman was given the responsibility of anchoring the Galle innings at the vital position of number 3 throughout the tournament. Karunarathne is not known to be a limited-overs player but had a memorable tournament ending up with 319 runs in 7 games at 45.57.
The stylish left-hander scored three sensible half-centuries to help Galle reach the final and he also ended up as the third highest run-scorer in the tournament. Karunarathne’s stability and form helped him gain the valuable number 3 position ahead of Bhanuka Rajapaksha, Kusal Mendis and Charith Asalanka in this XI.
Dinesh Chandimal (Captain) – Colombo
The Player of the Tournament, ‘Chandi’ was in sublime form throughout the tournament as he guided Colombo to the title with a cracking century (113) in the final. Chandimal was named as the Player of the Tournament after he topped the batting charts with 398 runs in 7 matches at a superb average of 79.60.
Chandimal cracked 2 centuries and 2 half-centuries in the tournament but shone for his leadership skills on the field, shepherding the strong Colombo outfit excellently by scoring runs consistently.
He knocked out the other captaincy candidates, Upul Tharanga and Chamara Kapugedara to be named as the Captain of this XI as well as the number 4 batsman. Ahead of the all-important ICC Champion’s Trophy in England next month, Chandimal’s form as a batsman would do a world of good for Sri Lanka’s chances in the eight-nation tournament.
Dinesh Chandimal, Wanindu Hasaranga and Sachithra Senanayake…
Chamara Kapugedara – Kandy
He played only 4 matches in the tournament and hammered two match-winning centuries, both against Dambulla. Despite not playing a few games, Kapugedara ended as the fourth highest run-getter with 287 runs at 95.67 with a strike rate of over 140. His top score of 105 came in just 50 balls with 14 fours and 2 sixes.
Kapugedara missed out on the last two league games due to a hamstring injury which perhaps hurt Kandy’s chances of making it to the final. Kapugedara’s ability to be an absolute match winner put him ahead of Sammu Ashan, Kithruwan Vithanage and Harsha Cooray for the pivotal number 5 position in this XI.
Shehan Jayasuriya – Colombo
Jayasuriya scored only 198 runs in 7 matches but a sensible 30 against Kandy in a low-scoring, virtual semi-final and a fine 77 in the final where he was involved in a 139-run stand with skipper Chandimal cemented his place in this XI as the perfect choice as a number 6 batsman who could also bowl 10 overs of spin.
Jayasuriya went on to grab 11 wickets in the tournament with his wily off-spin, which makes him the ideal spin bowling all-rounder. He ended up as the third-highest wicket taker in the tournament as well with a best of 4 for 29 against Dambulla. He showed great maturity as a middle order batsman in those two final games although he’s known to be a hard-hitting batsman. Jayasuriya’s main competition for this spin-bowling number 6 spot was from Ashan Priyanjan and Chathuranga De Silva.
Dasun Shanaka – Galle
The ‘Pinch-Hitter’ in the team, Shanaka had a big impact in Galle’s record of reaching 250+ in all games except the final. The hard-hitting batsman blasted 285 runs in 7 matches at 71.25 with a strike-rate of almost 140.
He ended up as the fifth highest run-scorer and holds the record for the most sixes in the tournament, with 20. Shanaka chipped in with the ball in several matches in a spin-heavy Galle attack taking 7 wickets in the tournament. Shanaka edged out Thisara Perera as the fast-bowling all-rounder in this XI.
Sachithra Senanayake – Colombo
The main off-spinner in the side, Senanayake was at his best in the tournament, especially in the powerplay overs. He constantly troubled the left-handers with the new ball to grab 10 wickets in 7 matches.
He bowled at an impressive economy rate of 4.22 throughout the tournament to tie down the opposition batsmen. Senanayake provided a few lusty blows as well, coming down the order which ultimately helped Colombo win the title. Senanayake was chosen in this XI despite impressive performances from Akila Dhananjaya (Galle) and Dilruwan Perera (Dambulla).
Nuwan Pradeep – Kandy
Pradeep sealed his place in the Sri Lanka ODI squad for the ICC Champions Trophy due to some creditable bowling spells in the tournament. Pradeep played only 4 games and picked up 9 wickets at an average of 22.11 for the third-placed Kandy outfit.
His slower balls and yorkers in the death were very effective on flat surfaces while his bouncers provided some venom. Pradeep’s edged out bowling partner in Tests and ODIs, Suranga Lakmal as spearhead in this XI.
Dambulla and Galle kept their hopes alive of making the final in the SLC Super Provincial Limited Over Tournament…
Malinda Pushpakumara – Galle
The obvious choice as the main left-arm spinner in the side, uncapped Malinda Pushpakumara was an absolute treat to watch throughout the tournament. Pushpakumara was the highest wicket-taker with 13 scalps in 6 matches.
The 30-year old bowled with a brilliant economy rate of 4.11 as Galle choked down many strong batting lineups in this three-week tournament. His spell of 5 for 29 against Colombo in the early stages of the tournament was the only instance where a bowler took a five-wicket haul in the tournament. Pushpakumara out-classed other left-arm spinners like Sachith Pathirana, Lakshan Sandakan and Amila Aponso with his accuracy and consistency to make it into the team of the tournament.
Asitha Fernando – Dambulla
The 19-year old fast-bowling revelation was on song in this tournament scalping 12 wickets in 6 games at 30.75. Even though he was a bit expensive in most matches leaking 6.49 runs per over, Fernando was able to take crucial wickets and showed his ability to bowl well at the death.
He generated reverse-swing from the semi-old white ball and his in-swinging yorkers were tough to keep out at most times. Fernando won the Best Bowler’s award in the tournament and showcased his talent on the big stage. He edged out seasoned campaigners in Lahiru Gamage, Vishwa Fernando and Dushmantha Chameera for the final spot in this XI.
We picked our XI, what’s yours? Name your team of the tournament in the comments below.