By M. Shamil Amit
The much looked forward to Battle of the Gold’s big match of the two leading cricket playing schools Prince of Wales and St Sebastian’s in Moratuwa takes place during the tomorrow and day after at De Zoysa Stadium in Moratuwa.
This is the 60th in the series with the Cambrians in the lead having secured six as against two to the Sebs. This encounter will be followed with the limited over match which is the 25th in the series to be played on March 14 at the same venue with both sides on equal terms with 11 wins each with the rest being washed out.
The two teams are oozing with confidence with both coming into the game with an unbeaten record. The Cambrians have played 17 matches winning four against DSS, Lumbini MV, Royal and Joseph Vaz with the rest drawn while the Sebs have played one match more but have seven outright wins.
They beat StAnne’s, Kalutara MV, StAnthony’s K’tota, Isipathana, De Mazenod, St Sylvester’s and President’s Rajagiriya with the rest drawn. So looking back the performances of the two teams, predicting an outcome is not going to that easy.
But no doubt the two captains will go flat out to record a win which has not been seen for the 32 years after Prince of Wales led by Pemlal Fernando achieved it in 1997. On the other for the Sebs they too will want to break the 43 year old hoodoo of having tasted success which was way back in 1966 under Sarath Perera.
The two leaders Nuwantha Peiris of Prince of Wales and Anuk de Alwis will have to lead from the front to see that positive cricket is played and if either go in the negative then for sure the outcome of a draw is assured.
Cambrians skipper Nuwantha has the services of last year skipper Buddika de Alwis who has put in some sterling performances this season. He has been successful in both the batting and bowling department and he is going to be their trump card. Buddik has scored over 600 runs and taken over 70 wickets.
Then they have Shehan Jayasuriya who is their top run getter this season with over 800 runs which includes a century against Royal with support to come from their centurion Isuru Thilina, Nipun Peiris and Sithum Fernando they should chalk up a challenging score.
The bowling will be in the hands of Buddika de Alwis who along with spinning partners Malshan Mendis and Shehan Jayasuriya have dominated throughout the season. So they will have to continue the same process if the Cambrians are to take the upper hand.
Though the Cambrians are having players who are in form they are going to have a tough time as the Sebs too posses batsmen who can match them. The Sebs has two players in Deshan Dias nad Oshada Fernando who have achieved the magical 1000 runs this season.
The duo are going to be a thorn in the flesh for the Cambrians with Deshan in his 1000 runs has two tons and 11 half tons while Oshada has one ton more along with four half tons with a top score of 194 against Thurstan.
Apart from the duo they have players in the calibre of skipper Anuk, Kasun Fernando, Ramesh Fernando and Viroshana de Alwis who have all made over 500 runs this season.
The Sebs bowling combination of pacie Sanitha de Mel and spinners Amila Aponos and skipper Anuk posses bowlers will be their mainstay. The left arm spin combination of Amila who has taken over 70 wickets and Anuk will be their trump card.
Amila the baby of the team has taken over 70 wickets while Anuk is the next best wicket taker with over 50 scalps to his credit. In fact he holds the big match bowling record of 8 for 48 which he achieved last year.
Nevertheless it all points to an interesting tussle and if a positive approach is made by the two teams, breaking the hoodoo of no wins for over three decades is on the cards.