A thrilling episode of Richmond-Mahinda annual cricket encounter unfolded at Galle International Cricket Stadium on 15th & 16th of March as Richmond Cricketers defeated the rivals, Mahinda College by 6 wickets. Richmond College captain Thavesha Abhishek kept his promises made the other night at Principal’s dinner guiding his team to an epic win with an unbeaten 99 in the second innings. It was a professional display of cricket by Richmond senior cricketers taking calculated risk and everybody was of the view that they experienced the best big match of the lifetime.
Having won the toss Richmond captain invited the Mahindian to take first lease of the wicket. Mahindians were very aggressive right from the start and scored quick runs at a rate of around five runs per over. Nipun Mlinga scored quick 44 off 28 balls after falling to Sandun Mendis. Mahindians scored 197 all out and some thought that Richmond captain would have bat first. Dilum Sudheera took 5 for 52 while Sandun Mendis captured 3 for 52. Richmondites were in all sorts of trouble when they were 56 for 6 and Sandun Mendis and Vimud Sapnaka came into their rescue. Sandun Mendis and Vimud Sapnaka scored 34 and 21 respectively. Ultimately Richmondites were bowled out for 144 before lunch on the second day. Kushan Madusha captured 5 wickets for 20 runs for Mahindians.
Mahindians came into bat in their second innings with the first innings lead of 53 runs. They started attacking right from the start making quick runs but wickets fell at regular intervals. But Hansika Welihinda played a matured innings with 70 runs and Mahindins declared when they were 161 for nine before tea setting a target of 214 runs for Richmond which they had to score in remaining 44 overs of the day. Vinuja Kiriella fell early to Kushan Madusha for 1 run but opener Adithya Siriwardene and bay of the side Banuka Manohara slowly built a good partnership. Adithya fell LBW to Subanu Rajapaksha at 26 and Banuka was joined by his skipper Thaveesha. Banuka & Thaveesha started building a very solid partnership creating expectation for a victory. Banuka Manohara was bowled by Pasan Pethangoda when he was 40 and Thaveesha was joined by Dilum Sudheera. Thaveesha and Dilum guided Richmond to their wining target scoring runs fearlessly all around the ground while even taking 2’s and 3’s regularly. Mahindians could not stop the flow of runs scored by the two batsmen. Thavessha was leading from the front hitting over the rope many occasions. Dilum Sudheera was run out for 41 when only 11 runs were needed to win. It was a tense moment for everyone as Richmondites had to score 8 runs in the last over. Mahindins trusted their star player Nipun Mlinga to bowl the last over. Mainga had a battle ahead of him as it was Thavessha who was on 91 and seeing the ball like football, to face him. First ball was on yoker length right outside off stump an keep collected the ball. Thaveesha drove the second ball straight along the ground for four runs and it went like a tracer bullet. The next ball was a full toss on leg stump and Thaveesha guided the ball to fine leg boundary and that was it. Richmondites sealed off an epic and dramatic win at their 114th “Lovers’ Quarrel”. Thaveesha Abhishek who scored an unbeaten 99 was adjudged the “Man of the match” while Dilum Sudheera who captured 9 scalps with 5 for 52 in the first innings and 4 for 56 in the second innings was adjudged “The best bowler”
Mahindians had a positive approach to the game this year, believing in themselves and targeting a possible victory. They certainly secured the honours of the first day. But the pendulum was swinging both ways endorsing the well known “uncertainty of the game of cricket”.