The Premier T20 inter-club cricket tournament has reached the last stage where four teams: BRC, NCC, Colts and Panadura will battle it out in the two semi finals today at the SSC ground in order to book a berth to the final scheduled to be worked off tomorrow at the same venue.
The semi-final line up today is between NCC and Colts scheduled to be played in the morning session followed by the clash between BRC and Panadura.
Interestingly two of the four teams that have qualified to the semi finals are from Premier Tier B category namely BRC and Panadura. BRC in particular outclassed two teams playing in the top group SSC and Moors and also recorded comfortable wins against Police and Sri Lanka Ports Authority and in the process was the only team to end the league phase with a hundred percent record.
NCC along with Colts and Panadura on the other hand had to work hard to qualify. NCC in Group A had the same number of wins as Badureliya CC but came out on top as they won the final match against Saracens SC with bonus points.
In contrast Colts and Panadura were two lucky teams as they came into the semi final by defeating two teams - CCC and Ragama CC - who all had the same number of wins at three each.
The two teams qualified due to the rule of head to head victories being taken into consideration. The final league match was going to be crucial for the four teams. The final outcome saw Colts and Panadura coming out victorious.
The match between NCC and Colts is no doubt going to be a close as both teams possess talented players. The two sides have recorded three wins each with NCC against Air Force, Tamil Union and Saracens SC and Colts against Kurunegala YCC, Navy and CCC.NCC will pin their hopes on Upul Tharanga, Chamara Kapugedera, Jehan Mubarak and Angelo Perera who has carried their good work to do the batting while the bowling department has been strengthened with the return of Lasith Malinga along with Sohan Boralessa, Farveez Maharoof and Upul Chandana to support.
Colts who are the league champions will go all out to add another trophy to their cupboard but to achieve that they will have to first clear today’s hurdle while NCC who are demoted next year will be looking to gain lost prestige.
The Colts batting will be spearheaded by skipper Malinda Warnapura. He will have the support of Harsha Vithana, Dilruwan Perera, Roshen Silva and Kusal Janith while the bowing will be in the hands of Chathura Peiris, Chathuranga Kumara and the two spinners Dilruwan and Sajeewa Weerakoon.
The scale in the clash between BRC and Panadura is in favour of the former as they are the team to be beaten yet in the tournament. They started the campaign with a bang by securing a stunning win over fancied SSC and continued to perform more than expected.
So it’s going to be a daunting task for Panadura who recorded three wins - two against teams from the top league Bloomfield and Ragama CC and against Army.
The BRC batting will revolve around opener Andy Solomons who has been consistent, Nimesh Perera, Vindika Chandrasiri, Delon Udugamasuriya, Thamara Abeyratne and Chandika Thirimanne with bowlers Malan Madusanka, Gihan Dilruk, Nimesh and Andy who opens the attack in order to curtail the opponents.
Panadura’s batting will be in the hands of Kelum Fernando, Ranga Cooray, Amila Perera, Sudesh Umayanga and Indika Massalage and the bowling combination of Sampath Perera, Dhanuja Nandana, skipper Nilantha Cooray and Amila will have to put in something special if they are to restrict the BRC batting.Nevertheless with the battle today being a crucial one for the four teams there is no doubt that the supporters of the four sides will be able to witness closely contested games.