Wayamba win but Bushrangers go through
by Rohit Sakunia

Scorecard:Victoria v Wayamba
Player:HGJM Kulatunga, MG Vandort, AB McDonald, BJ Hodge
Event:Champions League 2009/10

DateLine: 13th October 2009


It seems the Aussie teams are out here for a demonstration of the quality of their domestic circuit. In another brilliant show, first the Victoria bowlers thoroughly backed by extraordinary fielding restricted Wayamba Elevens to a meagre 118 and then against an extremely disciplined bowling effort and a crumbling, spinning, low bouncing pitch made sure they get through to the next stage by the virtue of a better run-rate.


Wayamba though would have themselves and their batting to blame. After a more then a decent start where-in at one stage they were 85 for just the loss of one wicket with 6 overs in hand, they succumbed to a very meagre total. Anything over 140 would have made the run-rate further tougher for the Bushrangers and with the brilliant bowling by the Wayambese, things could have gone eitherway. They nonetheless won the game by 15 runs but they would know that the results could had so very pleasing with a handful of more runs in their kitty.


Chasing a modest 119, the Bushrangers got off to a poor start, losing Rob Quiney in the first over, without a single run on the board. The pitch and good disciplined bowling by Wayamba start-up seamers did not allow Brad Hodge and Aiden Blizzard to get away and the frustration of not getting runs forced Blizzard to play a suicidal loft. Welegedara who bowled well to start off, got one full and on the off and Blizzard went at it hard, trying to clear mid-off but because of the nature of the pitch, he couldn't connect well. The ball took the toe end of the bat and lobbed straight to mid-off at the edge of the circle.


Wayamba bowlers continued to pile on the pressure as for them to qualify they needed to restrict the opposition to less than 83 runs. At one stage with just 37 on the board after 10 overs, the game did look set for being a thriller but then stand-in wicketkeeper Mahela Jayawardene missed an easy stumping chance off Herath. In the very next over bowled by Farveez Maharoof, a boundary was taken to ease the pressure a bit, but immediately after that Maharoof cleaned up David Hussey and the game was back in the balance.


Runs came in singles and missed chances as Bushrangers kept closing in on the required number to push Wayamba out of the tournament. They were clearly behind the asking rate but their approach looked seamingly towards reaching the safety zone rather then towards outright victory. After the slowest ten overs run-rate, they also recorded the slowest 50 in the tournament reaching the milestone in the thirteenth over.


The fourteenth over came as a little respite for the Australian outfit as Craig White got stuck into a fuller delivery from Mendis and the power in the shot enabled it to be a maximum. After this hit, qualifying started to look realistic but an outright victory against an as disciplined attack as this one, still looked out of the cards.


White then fell to Mendis in trying to hoick him over long-off, failing to clear the fielder there. In walked Andrew McDonald and if the spectators only knew about his bowling exploits, he today proved he was a good smasher with the willow as well. For some reason Kaushal Lokuarachi was brought to the attack and McDonald went after him, scoring 18 in the over.


Even after these exploits by McDonald, the Bushrangers fell short by 15 runs but considering a crumbling pitch and the opposition studded with two world-class spinners, the Aussie outfit would be satisfied with the effort put in batting second.


Earlier in the afternoon, Wayamba skipper Jehan Mubarak correctly called at the toss and chose to bat on a pitch that both captains were not sure of. The equation was that unless Wayamba beat Victoria by a certain margin, there voyage in the first ever CL T20 will get over.


The Sri Lankan outfit came out without their champion bowler in the domestic Twenty20s, Isuru Udana, who failed to impress in the first game. His place went to Rangana Herath, something that could prove crucial considering the pitch on offer and Sri Lanka bowling second.


Batting first though, the Wayambese hardly impressed. The run-rate not even for a single time crossed 6 and a half and finally they ended with a score less then 120. Their problems started early losing Mahela Udawatte in the second over, plumb in front to Peter Siddle. Then in the powerplays there was hardly any display of pwer as they could muster on ly 16 runs in the first six overs, the least by a distance in this tournament.


After the early fall of Udawatte, Michael Vandort joined Jeevantha Kulatunga in the middle and they both struggled a hell lot to come to terms on a pitch that hardly had any bounce on offer. Boundaries were hard to come by and the brilliant fielding display by the Bushrangers made sure there were plenty of panic stricken singles, most of them would had been out had the ball hit the timber directly.


Such was the struggle by Vandort that his first four runs came in 17 deliveries. On the other end Kulatunga, though not fluent by any means, still was at ease comparatively. He provided some momentum in what could be termed as Wayamba's only good phase of the innings. The five overs after the first 6 of the Powerplay, were taken for 47 runs by the batsmen at the crease. Even Vandort got going once the spinners were on, and the pair together tok the total to 85 for one in 14 overs.


From here on what was needed was a run-riot from the batting to come, especially since they had 9 wickets in hand, but Clint McKay, the star Bushranger bowler against the Daredevils, again dampened the opposition efforts and from 85 for 1, the Sri Lankan domestic outfit skittled to 99 for six at one stage. In fact they lost three wickets at the same score of 99.


Alongside McKay, his other seam bowling mates, Shane Harwood and Andrew McDonald also snared wickets and all these efforts meant Wayamba in this all important match could garner a meagre 118 in their alloted 20 overs.