Team-work was the key to SSCís success
Team work was the key word to SSCís success in the Sri Lanka Cricket
organized Premier Division One limited overs tournament concluded
The champion SSC team that won the Premier division one limited
Picture by Mahinda Vithanachchi
They had a pretty ordinary start to their campaign but ended up as a
champion outfit while defeating Moors Sports Club in the final
SSC never looked the team that would have even made it to the
semifinals considering their track record at the beginning of the
tournament where they suffered three consecutive defeats at the hands of
Baduraliya CC, Chilaw Marians SC and Moors SC.
They also struggled to beat Ragama CC in a low scoring opening
encounter and the future did not look all that bright for the Maitland
Place club. But thereafter they began to believe in themselves and soon
came into their own during the latter stages of the tournament.
The team showed a lot of character on the field with the senior
players leading from the front. But more importantly each player
realized his responsibilities and that certainly helped skipper Avishka
Gunawardena and coach Naveed Nawaz to complete their task more
In fact for their coach Naveed Navaz this was a new experience having
taken over the duties recently. The former D. S. Senanayake College
cricketer had of course guided SSC to win the Sri Lanka Cricket
organized under 23 title earlier.
But the Premier division one tournament was a complete challenge
indeed with most of the clubs giving their best shot in their attempt to
draw first blood for the new season. However more than any other team
SSC had the ingredients of success with them and also had the courage
and the determination to last the full distance of the tournament.
SSC of course came into the recognition mid way in the competition
and the game against Colts CC was probably the turning point from where
they went from strength to strength. It was during this game that they
actually realized their potential and believed that they could make a
huge impact in the rest of the matches.
The absence of two of their key bowlers Nuwan Zoysa and Shalika
Karunanayake certainly put them on the defensive to a great extent at
the start of the tournament. In addition the other reason for their poor
start was because most of their new recruits took some time to settle
But once the players combined and began to produce the results they
looked absolutely unbeatable and the margin that they won the last six
games clearly proved that they are a genuine champion outfit.
No team of course remained unbeaten in this tournament but still SSC
were able to hold their own when it really mattered. They had the better
of Tamil Union by 26 runs, Colts CC by nine wickets, Bloomfield by ten
wickets, NCC by eight wickets, CCC by eight wickets and Colts CC by 23
runs in the semifinals.
The other major factor in their success was that they were the only
team not to have conceded a bonus point to their opponents. This is a
clear indication of their competitiveness and their ability to fight
until the end even during a worse situation of a match.
The SSC bowling attack revolved around Nuwan Zoysa, Shalika
Karunanayake, Thilina Thushara, Sachithra Senanayake and Kaushal
Lokuarachchi. In fact the all round contributions made by the former Sri
Lanka opening bowler Nuwan Zoysa was quite outstanding as he went on to
win the man of the match award in the final.
In addition paceman Shalika Karunanayake was the find of the
tournament as he came out with some real matchwinning performances where
he captured 14 wickets from the seven outings.
Nuwan Zoysa and Thilina Thushara of course had 19 wickets each but
the former performed this feat from just eight outings. He also made
some valuable contributions with the bat and his knock in the final was
The spinners Kaushal Lokuarachchi and Sachithra Senanayake also
performed their task quite admirably while sharing 22 wickets between
them. SSC also had the guidance of Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardena
whose presence in the important final made a huge impact as a leader.