Resurgent Royal seek to reclaim D.S. Senanayake Shield | Daily News


 

141st Battle of the Blues

Resurgent Royal seek to reclaim D.S. Senanayake Shield

ROYAL COLLEGE 1ST XI CRICKET TEAM 2020: Front row standing (from left): Prashan Kalhara, Lahiru Gagewaththa, Resandu Thilakarathne, Sadisha Rajapaksha, Sehan Herath, Dasis Manchanayake. Back row standing (from left): Ahan Sanchitha, Isivara Dissanayake, Kaushan Kulasuriya, Lahiru Madusanka, Manjula Perera, Thevindu Senaratne (captain), Kavindu Madarasinghe, Kavindu Pathirathne, Kamil Mishara, Gishan Balasooriya, Tithira Weerasinghe. (Picture by Herbert Perera)

ROYAL COLLEGE 1ST XI CRICKET TEAM 2020: Front row standing (from left): Prashan Kalhara, Lahiru Gagewaththa, Resandu Thilakarathne, Sadisha Rajapaksha, Sehan Herath, Dasis Manchanayake. Back row standing (from left): Ahan Sanchitha, Isivara Dissanayake, Kaushan Kulasuriya, Lahiru Madusanka, Manjula Perera, Thevindu Senaratne (captain), Kavindu Madarasinghe, Kavindu Pathirathne, Kamil Mishara, Gishan Balasooriya, Tithira Weerasinghe. (Picture by Herbert Perera)

Royal College, the biggest school with a big image, with a misfiring and a mediocre run, till recently, enter the hugely-hyped big match against traditional rivals S. Thomas’ College with a point and a potential to prove in the 141st Battle of the Blues cricket encounter to be played on March 12, 13, 14 at the SSC grounds.

One significant setback was having to break the shackles and dust-off the upset of falling short of progression in the ongoing Under 19 tournament.

Nevertheless, the Royalists have resurged in time for the big occasion, looking to quench the thirst in the quest of reclaiming the D.S. Senanayake Shield. In their last Under 19 two-dayer prior to the Royal- Thomian, against another sound side Trinity, they had dominated the entire encounter, including a brilliant unfinished double-ton from their yesteryear skipper, Kavindu Madarasinghe.

They last won the shield in 2016 and not been up to standards. They will be having only a list extended goals and the pick and the priority will be to return the compliment against the Thomian grit.

Nevertheless, not entering the knockout stages of the Under 19 two-dayer, their tally reads four outright wins and an unbeaten record.

Eyes and hopes will be on top-order batsman Kamil Mishara, also an off-spinner, and Ahan Wickramasinghe, the other, to lead the batting attack and both of whom are Royal’s representatives of the Sri Lanka Under19 squad.

Gishan Balasuriya will play, as the highest wicket-taker this season, with 61 scalps and growing, while their leading run-scorer is Kavindu Madarasinghe with 578, who’s 200 alone came in the last game against Trinity

Despite the odds Royal simply cannot be treated lightly. The Reid Avenue lads are capable of turning the tide and leaving the opposition stunned as they did in 2016, toppling the Thomians, who were cruising.

Their head coach Jehan Mubarak said, “Royal-Thomian is a very difficult game to predict. However much you have had a good or a bad season, the magnitude of the game is very big. I still think, our chances are good, compared to last year, because S. Thomas’ are without Kalana Perera, their leading bowler.

“Yes, throughout the season, we have had our ups and downs. But, I am very happy with the progress the boys have made and I do believe we are peaking at the right time,” the one-time national cricketer said.

“The team is good. Like I said they have had a bit of ups and downs but their mind sets have been good. So, even though, we have bad periods, they have always stood strong through that and I am very happy with the way they have come through,” explained Mubarak, reflecting on his side.

“Winning and losing is part of playing cricket. Losing at the Royal-Thomian is very hard, specifically, when you had the Shield for so long. But, I think that has motivated them more. Lots of the boys, who played, lost and relinquished the Shield are playing this year. So, they’ll be hurting and making it count this time,” Mubarak said touching on the mindset of the boys.

“We have increased our intensity at training. Mental intensity at practice makes sure they are switched-on, all the time. They are able to take decisions on the field and, they are on their own, in the middle. Just making sure they have confidence in taking decisions,” he said.


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