Sri Lankans CC won the CCA MoneyGram 80 over competition with a 7 wicket win over Kazepis - who were totally outplayed in the final game.
Sri Lankans CC after winning the toss, elected to field first and the extra bounce of Mangala and swing of Chandana had Kazepis in all sorts of trouble by the 5th over, with the score 21 runs for the loss of 4 wickets – including the key wickets of Umair Liaquat and Shahid Ali.
Zahid and Sadiq (27) briefly looked at home as they calmly steadied the innings in a partnership of 44 runs that lasted nearly 10 overs. However, once Kazepis skipper Zahid (14) was smartly taken at short mid-off, the Kazepis innings faltered. Though, Manan hung around doggedly for 18*, nevertheless, He soon ran out of partners as the innings closed on 110 in the 26th over, with the last man Sifit Elahi being retired hurt after getting a painful blow on his face that later on needed stitches to close the wound.
Though, cricket is a safe sport in comparison to many other sports, nevertheless, the cricket ball can cause considerable damage and it is important that players take appropriate measures and understand the importance of wearing helmets, which hopefully, Sifit will start wearing from now on.
Sri Lankans bowled well throughout the innings and were superbly assisted by the alert and agile fielders who took 7 catches to contain Kazepis to a meager total. For Sri Lankans, captain Mangala was the pick of the bowlers with 3 wickets and received good support from Sujantha and Nalin – 2 wickets apiece. Chandana and Dilan who troubled the Kazepis batsmen with their accurate swing bowling finished with a wicket each.
Sri Lankans CC reply started steadily with Sugath playing sensibly to guide his team towards the target. Despite losing Akash and Susantha to the bowling of Zahid, early in the innings, He never panicked and continued serenely, however, Abdul Manan, outwitted him and brought Sugath’s (25) innings to an end with the Sri Lankans on 43 in the 12th over.
For Kazepis, this was as good as it got. As, Nalin (18*) and Mangala (46*) put together 71 runs in the next 6.2 overs to put aside any Kazepis comeback and muscled their way to glory with more than 21 overs remaining and 7 wickets in hand.
Though, the match spanned less than 45 overs, it was the first time any game in Cyprus Cricket league got played with new balls used from each end. The match was played in good spirit by both teams and a sizeable crowd was present at the Lakatamia stadium to cheer both teams.
A well deserving win for the Sri Lankans, who reclaimed the league title that they last won in 2010/11. A joyous support contingent was joined by the winning team and the President of Sri Lankan welfare Association Mr. Wickramasinghe, who was full of praise of the team and thanked the Cyprus Cricket Association for providing the opportunity to participate in the domestic competition.
It seems the barbecue fire that Kazepis started inside the stadium mid way during their batting innings was not a wise move as the chicken kebabs may not have tasted as good as the refreshments the Sri Lankans CC will be enjoying at India Gate restaurant in Limassol on December 11 when they will collect the winners trophy and prizes at CCA award function.
Cyprus Cricket Association is thankful to Lakatamia municipality for the use of the stadium and is also thankful to its sponsors MoneyGram and India Gate restaurant. A big thank you to all the volunteers, team managers / captains, and players for their contribution.