Nagenahira Nagas on Sunday succumbed to a 15-run defeat to Uthura Rudras in their SLPL encounter at Kettarama.
Chamara Kapugedera struck 43 from 32 to take Uthura to 149 from their 20 overs, before Naved-ul-Hasan bowled his best spell of the tournament to derail Nagenahira’s chase.
Nagenahira lost five wickets for 40, and were never able to build any fluency into their innings, despite a valiant 43 from Colin de Grandhomme in his first appearance in the SLPL. Angelo Mathews was unlucky to be run out off an Udara Jayasundera straight drive that flicked the bowler’s fingertips on the way to the stumps, but several of Nagenahira’s batsmen were guilty of throwing away their wickets to poor shots. Ahmed Shehzad was caught heaving across the line, before Travis Birt danced past a straighter one from Jehan Mubarak that hit the top of middle stump. Needless run outs compounded Nagenahira’s woes as both Mushfiqur Rahim and Angelo Perera charged down the wicket when a run was not on offer. Suraj Randiv and Ajantha Mendis continued swinging at nine down, but 42 from the last three overs was always going to be beyond the pair.
Kapugedera’s second strong performance in two matches underpinned Uthura’s innings, after he had missed out on selection for Sri Lanka’s World Twenty20 squad earlier in the week. Arriving at 57 for 3 after 8.4 overs, Kapugedera was assured from the outset - striking two boundaries from Saroj Pathirana’s tenth over. His teammates, though, continued to flounder at the other end. Despite Kapugedera’s lively progress, Uthura’s scoring rate had dipped below 6.5 by the end of the 14th over. Farveez Maharoof came and went attempting to boost the rate, but managed only 12 from 14, before Kapugedera took it on himself to provide the late charge. He made 18 from his last 8 balls to propel Uthuras towards 150, before departing in the penultimate over.