Fairfirst edge Maliban by 2 wickets

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 A fighting run a ball 75 runs partnership for the 7th wicket between Anuk Fernando (74* in 89 balls, inclusive of a six and 06 fours) and Koshan Abeywickrama (50 in 36 balls, inclusive of 04 sixes and 01 four), guided Fairfirst Insurance to a heart stopping 2 wickets win over Maliban Biscuit Manufactories in the Final of the National Development Bank (NDB) sponsored – MCA Premier League/White ball 50 Over League Tournament 2022, concluded at the MCA Grounds, on Saturday, 30 July.

 Chasing a victory target of 230, Fairfirst was perilously placed at 136/6 in the 33rd over. At the fall of Moditha Ranatunga (14 in 28 balls), Koshan Jayawickrama joined Anuk Fernando and immediately broke the shackles by hitting 4 mighty sixes to propel the total to 211.

 Maliban bowlers fought tooth and nail and got rid of Jayawickrama and No.9 batter Pubudu Bandara (01) to get back into the game (213/8 in 45 overs); but then wicket keeper Gihan Anuruddha made a big blunder by dropping Anuk Fernando off paceman Chamara Ratnayake with Fairfirst needing 15 runs to win with 2 wickets in hand.

 Anuk used his new lease of life by hitting a glorious six to take Fairfirst over the line in 48.2 overs; and with him was No. 10 batter Suwath Mendis (9 not out in 14 balls).

 Maliban Biscuits, who won the toss and batted, scored 229 all out in 49.2 overs, their innings anchored by a gutsy century by one drop batter Mohamed Shamzi (107 in 126 balls, inclusive of 02 sixes and 08 fours). Shamzi was associated in a 82 runs partnership in 126 balls with No.6 batter Anjula Perera (38 in 64 balls), which bailed them out from 57 for 4 in 11 overs. Koshan Jayawickrama bowled menacingly to finish with 10-1-35-3, whilst Asel Sigera bowled a containing spell of 10-1-28-1.

Match Referee, Sena Nandiweera named Anuk Fernando from Fairfirst Insurance as his Man of the Match.

 The other 3 special awards – based on performance up to the semi-finals – went to Chamod Pushpa Battage (Softlogic Holdings), best bowler with a haul of 20 wickets for 154 runs, bowling 52 overs in 7 matches.                      

Anuk Fernando, who accumulated 346 runs in 5 innings with 5 half centuries was the best batter.

Maliban Biscuits Captain Tharindu Siriwardena was the Man of the Series (07 innings, 416 runs, 03 not outs, inclusive of 2 centuries and 2 half centuries; and 52 overs, 174 runs, 11 wickets).

 The awards were given away by Chief Guest, Vice President/Head of Treasury, NDB Bank & MCA President 2015/17, Niran Mahawatte and MCA officials Nalin Wickramasinghe, President, Mahesh de Alwis, Senior VP & Chairman, Tournament Committee and Tarindra Kaluperuma, General Secretary.

 Brief scores

 Maliban Biscuits: 229 (49.2) (Mohamed Shamzi 107, Anjula Perera 38, Koshan Jayawickrama 3/35, Anuk Fernando 3/53)

 Fairfirst Insurance:  234/8 (48.3) (Anuk Fernando 74 n.o., Koshan Jayawickrama 50, Lakshan Perera 32, Hashan Dumindu 21, Nishan Perera 2/47)

 (IR)