Wanindu, Kusal help Reds set up final clash Vs Blues

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Star all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga’s all-round performance, and a match winnings knock from skipper Kusal Mendis, helped Reds register a comfortable 33-run win over Team Blues in their SLC Invitational T20 League 2022 fixture at the
R Premadasa International Stadium on Saturday (13).

After Greys walked out with a memorable win over Greens in the penultimate game of the league stage, this was a must win game for the Reds with their spot in the finals at stake.

Reds were off to a poor start with opener Lasith Croospulle falling cheaply in the 3rd over, which brought dashing batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa to the crease.

Bhanuka too followed a similar script departing cheaply for 14 runs, and adding salt to their wound, Kamindu Mendis too didn’t last long as he was bowled for a golden duck to put Reds under early pressure.

With wickets falling at regular intervals, skipper Kusal Mendis needed someone to help him reconstruct the innings, and that’s what all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga did, as the duo were engaged in a 125-run partnership to revive their innings from 3-53 to 4-178.

Leading from the front, Kusal smashed the Blues bowlers all over the park for his 86 runs off 60 deliveries, which including 10 boundaries and a six.

On the other hand, Wanindu playing handy knock, went onto score an unbeaten 69 off 41 deliveries including 3 boundaries and 5 sixes to help his team post a healthy 178 at the end of their allotted 20 overs.

Suminda Lakshan was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 2 for 29 in his allotted 4 overs.

In reply, Blues lost the plot from the get go as they were restricted to145-6 at the end of 20 overs. Sadeera Samarawickrama top scored with 40, while Lahiru Udara (35) and Ashen Bandara (30) chipped in with useful contributions, which was clearly not enough to take their team over the line.

This time with the ball, Wanindu grabbed 2-18. Asitha Fernando also claimed two wickets, while Maheesh Theekshana and Dunith Wellalage shared a wicket apiece.   

With this result, Reds ended top on the points table with two wins out of 3 matches with a NRR 0.853, while Blues ended second with 4 points with a NRR 0.215.  

The two teams will clash in the all-important final today (15) at 7.30 p.m.

Brief scores:

SLC Reds: 178/4 (20 Overs) (Kusal Mendis 86, Wanindu Hasaranga 69*, Suminda Lakshan 2/29)

SLC Blues: 145/6 (20 Overs) (Sadeera Samarawickrama 40, Lahiru Udara 35, Ashen Bandara 30, Asitha Fernando 2/25, Wanindu Hasaranga 2/48)

By Mustaq Sydeen