The 41st edition of the Annual Royal- Thomian limited over encounter for the Mustangs trophy was played last Saturday (19th March) under lights at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
The Thomian 1st XI retained the Mustangs Trophy for the third consecutive year after cruising to a comfortable 4-wicket win over Royal College.
Royal College won the toss and decided to bat first. Royal looked positive to put up a big score on the board but had a shaky start after losing four early wickets. The initial damage was done by Thomian opening fast bowler, Shenal de Silva. He struck in the third over as the right armer found the outside edge of left handed Naveen Vidanapathirana. It was right-arm off-spinner Dineth Kannangara who made the important strikes by claiming four top Royal wickets. Both opening bowlers were disciplined.
In the midway, Ravindu Tillekeratne started the spell with a maiden over and broke the threatening partnership of 63 runs between the skipper Geeshath Panditharatne and Kariyawasam. The latter was bowled out round the wicket.
Thomian spinners Kannangara and Tillekeratne controlled the Royal run rate during the crucial power play overs. Ravindu Thilakaratne and Dineth Kannangara spun a web to restrict Royal to 210.
Opener Ronuka Jayawardena was one of the four Royal batsmen to resist the Thomian bowling attack as he salvaged 50 deliveries to make 39 runs, inclusive of eight boundaries.
The foundation for a respectable total 210 was laid by skipper Panditharatne, who hit a resolute knock of 59 off 79 deliveries.
He hit four boundaries and a six while sharing two important partnerships firstly a 64 run partnership off 78 deliveries with the dependable Kariyawasam for the fifth wicket and secondly 29-run partnership with Vithanage for the sixth wicket. Kariyawasam faced 44 deliveries before stroking 30 inclusive of three fours and a six while Vithanage hit 31 off 41 balls with three fours and a six.
Thomians started off their run chase with a positive mind set. Yohan Mendis and Direndra Gunatilleke made useful contributions to steady the Thomian innings after dangerman Rashmika Opatha departed being trapped lbw. Yohan Mendis was dropped at second slip off Vithanage. Rashmika Opatha, who hit two consecutive fours against Helitha Vithanage was trapped lbw in the same over. Vithanage bowled well but was unlucky as the wicket-keeper dropped Thiran Dhanapala. Royal’s fielding was sloppy as they dropped three catches.
The Thomians were not too happily placed (99-4), until Hapuhinna joined skipper Sachitha Jayatilleke in a partnership of 53 runs for the fifth wicket before the skipper was run out for a hard-hit 36 runs including two sixes. After Jayatilleke’s departure Hapuhinna took control to frustrate the Royal bowlers with an excellent batting display stroking to all parts of the ground.
Thereafter, left-handed Sithara Hapuhinna held his nerves for the Thomians to crack an unbeaten 65 off 52 deliveries to see them through with 25 balls to spare. At the end of the match Thomians took the lead of the Mustangs trophy win tally by 20 – 19. In the year 2002 encounter ended in a thrilling tie, where in the year 2012 the encounter was abandoned.
Royal College innings