In a final that on paper looks trying to predicting the winner, the showdown between Jaffna and Kandy for the trophy glitter of Sri Lanka Cricket’s long version National Super League Tournament unfolds at the Galle International Stadium does carry the trimming of a battle of wits.
While Jaffna enjoyed a cakewalk 9-wicket downsising of the strong Colombo outfit having wriggled out of a bad spot, Kandy batted out the formidable Galle on the first innings on a massive total.
That Jaffna displayed their strong arm in bouncing back from a lowly 204 for 8 to totalling 339 in reply to Colombo’s first innings total of 272 was high stuff. That they produced the decisive fire power in their bowling attack in bundling out their strong opponents comprising Sri Lanka stars Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis was even higher in finally making light of the 92-run victory target.
In Kandy’s100-plus win over Galle, the ploy of grinding out the opposition in a sweat on the field in amassing 458 proved the decisive melting element.Well equipped a batting outfit as Galle were, the huge chase was demoralising reflected in their total of 354.
The interesting pre=match hype in the final analysis of the two finalists is the contrasting factors between them. Jaffna, are certainly with their tails up by their clinical champagne thrashing of semi-final opponents Colombo. But then, to get to that ultimate hurrah. champagne over the moon final hurdle the side would have to shed the fourth place points table final standings to their second placed rivals notwithstanding the fact though that skipper Dhananjaya de Silva marshalled his team to routing table leaders Colombo. Therein, it is a plus point buoyant Dhananjaya and his men will carry to the middle in the big one.
In Kandy, it’s the. all-round depth of the side brimming on its batting muscle with skipper young Kamindu Mendis having ably led from the front. His four centuries and three half tons in becoming the tournament’s highest run getter as inspiring as it has been to the rest, has underlined in no uncertain terms the firepower in Kandy’s batting. His 108 versus Galle teaming up with opener Oshada Fernando who clobbered 127, sapped out the Galle attack.
Comparatively, both sides have just the single win out of four outings with three drawn. Therein Jaffna holds the edge by their outright semi-final win as against their opponents going through on the first innings. But Kandy offsets that handicap by their second placed points standings which was a contributory factor to makin it. Team-wise, Jaffna has in its ranks a potential match winner in skipper Dhananjaya de Silva who has not had the best of runs with the bat, but the tremendous batter that he has proved to be by his century exploits for his country at international level, has it in him to rise to the big occasion.