COLOMBO - Nagenahira Nagas prevailed by five runs in a rain-curtailed SLPL opener against Ruhuna Royals at the R Premadasa Stadium on Saturday.
Ruhuna stuttered to 134 all out from their 20 overs, as Shaminda Eranga and Ajantha Mendis claimed three wickets each. Nagenahira progressed steadily to 77 for 2 from 12 overs when the heavens opened up. No further play was possible and Nagenahira were declared the winners by the Duckworth/Lewis method. There was no swing for Eranga in what was at one stage a sunny afternoon, but what he lacked in movement, he provided in intensity. The low bounce helped him skid through quicker than the batsmen expected, and he exploited this by bowling fast and straight. Daniel Harris lost his leg stump in an attempted charge and Lasith Malinga, who had promoted himself towards the end of the innings, did likewise - only his stroke was a heave to the leg side. Eranga had removed Chamara Silva as well, with an offcutter, and conceded only 15 runs from his four overs.
None of the Ruhuna batsmen found the measure of the sluggish surface, regularly mishitting slogs to the infield - if they managed to connect at all. Aaron Finch and Prasanna Jayawardene managed only two runs from the first two overs, but when the runs eventually began to flow, the wickets began to fall as well. Mendis leaked 10 runs in a wayward first over, but amid the filth, produced a moment of magic to produce Nagenahira's first breakthrough. Finch's bewildered prod was nowhere near the carrom ball that uprooted his off stump, and Ruhuna would continue to lose batsmen regularly, failing to produce partnerships of note.
With a modest total to chase, Nagenahira were unflustered throughout their reply, even when Tharanga Lakshitha dismissed Ahmed Shehzad for a duck in the second over.
Scores: Nagenahira Nagas 77 for 2 (Birt 33*, Jayasundera 25) beat Ruhuna Royals 134 (Thirimanne 34, Mendis 3-34, Eranga 3-15) by five runs (D/L method)