A little cricket, some hundreds and a lot of rain; Mid-season review

Singer U19 Division 1 Cricket Tournament 2019/20

We have arrived at the half-way mark of the 2019/20 schools cricket season as we prepare to say ‘hello’ to a new year in a couple of weeks. ThePapare.com sets forth to bring you a run-through of what has happened in schools’ cricket so far.

This has been one of the wettest years in the recent past and that put spate to the tournament significantly. Only a total of 69 games were squeezed in at the end of the third term, with few teams not even having played any tournament matches.

Thirty-four games out of these were tournament matches and the rest were traditional encounters. Eight matches have produced results while the others ended in draws.

Looking at the points table, it would be too early to predict which team is going to end the tournament on top as only a maximum of 3 or 4 games has been played by most of the teams. But, it is safe to say that the group-toppers of each group, St. Joseph’s College, S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia, Nalanda College and Trinity College, has had a solid run so far in the tourney.

The Josephians are leading the win tally with 2 outright wins so far while the other three schools have registered an outright win each. All four teams remain unbeaten so far whilst Trinity College has only played 1 tournament game which they won outright and also has another outright victory in their traditional game against St. Joseph Vaz College.

The tournament has been very bowler-friendly in the first half as these boys have recorded a remarkable 66 fifers in 69 games against just the 8 hundreds we have seen so far. When we take this fact into consideration, the reasoning could be the underprepared wickets due to rain or the genuine lack of good batsmanship. The rest of the season will tell a better story on that.

Top performers – Batting

We have seen 7 centurions so far in the tourney and among them, one boy from Royal College really stood out with his sensational batting performances. Left-handed wicket keeper-batsman, Kamil Mishara, who is also a mainstay in the Sri Lanka U19 team, amassed two back to back centuries in 3 games to become the top-run scorer of the season so far. Kamil has 313 runs this season. He also holds the highest score in an innings so far with a marathon knock of 158 runs against Isipathana College.

Next on the list is Nethma Karunaratne who is playing at no. 3 for Ananda College. Karunaratne has 262 runs to his name and he is also a member of the century-makers club this year. The right-hander is a graduate from U17 cricket for Ananda and struck 121 runs against Maliyadeva College on his first X debut.

St. Sebastian’s College top-order batsman, Dunith Jayathunga stands 3rd on the list with 256 runs in his 6 outings. Jayathunga is yet to make a hundred but is striking at an excellent average of 51.20 to keep himself in contention. His top score is the 84 runs he made against Thomians.

The centurions so far are Abishek Anandakumar from Trinity College, Muditha Premadasa from Maliyadeva College, Vishal Silva from St. Anthony’s College, Wattala, Lohan Aroshana from Dharmasoka College and Ruwin Fonseka from De Mazenod College.

Top performers – Bowling

It’s mostly a spinners league when it comes to the bowling. The top the 10 wicket-takers of the season so far being all spinners and the left-arm spinner from Ananda College, Isuru Ayesh takes the lead in the list. 15-year-old Ayesh has taken 24 wickets in the season so far.

Zahira College all-rounder, Imthiyaz Slasa slots himself in at the second position of the list with is accurate spells of right-arm off-spin. Slasa too has taken 24 wickets with 2 fifers and a best of 6 for 32 against Dharmaraja College, Kandy.

Royal College fresher Prashan Kalhara is also a name that was highly spoken of so far in the season as the right-arm off-spinner grabbed the spotlight with a match-bag 12 wickets against Isipathana College to record the season’s best figures in a match. Kalhara who has played 2 games for Royal so far, has taken a five-wicket haul in each of the innings he has bowled so far. It also makes him the player with the most number of fifers and also the player with a match-bag of 10 wickets in the season.

Sri Lanka U19 representative from St. Joseph’s College, Dunith Wellalage, stands as the player who has taken 21 wickets so far. Left-arm spinner from Dharmaraja College Upendra Warnakulasooriya, and Preterite Kanishka Maduwantha are a few of the other bowlers to have an eye on.

Gurukula skipper, who is a terrific left-arm seamer, registered the best figures in an innings, bagging 9 wickets for just 13 runs against St. Servatius’ College, Matara.

Apart from the 66 fifers the tournament as also seen six 10 wicket haul match-bags so far. Dinith Nelumdeniya of Dharmapala College, Lohan Aroshana of Dharmasoka College, Prashan Kalhara of Royal College, Dilmin Rathnayake of S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia and Yasiru Yugath of Isipathana College are all members of that club.

As followers of Schools Cricket in Sri Lanka, let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope for the weather gods to give space for these budding superstars to showcase their skills. Let’s hope for more elegance from Kamil Mishara and more rippers from young and exuberant Ayesh. As a whole, the tournament will only get better as it moves closer to the climax.