Woodhall Spa overseas player Malinga Bandara’s part in the Oxigen Masters Champions League came to an end last week.
Sri Lankan Bandara’s Virgo Super Kings team were beaten by Leo Lions in the semi-finals of the Twenty/20 league at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday.
Leo Lions, inspired by the return of their captain Brian Lara, beat Virgo Super Kings by 17 runs,to enter the final of the inaugural Oxigen Masters Champions League (MCL).
Batting first, Leo made a modest 139 for seven in their 20 overs. In their reply, Virgo Super Kings made 122 for nine to lose by 17 runs.
Earlier, Brett Lee (three for 31) struck at regular intervals to restrict Leo Lions to 139 for seven in their allotted 20 overs. Oram, struggling with a calf injury, bowled a miserly spell of one for nine in his four overs, whilst Bandara’s figures were 3-0-26-1.
James Franklin held the Leo Lions innings together with an unbeaten 65 off 48 balls, with two boundaries and three sixes.
here was no other significant contribution in the Leo Lions score. The Leo Lions struggled all the way in their innings as they lost wickets at regular intervals to slip to 72 for five.
In their response, Leo Lions bowled well, led brilliantly by fast bowler Fidel Edwards (two for 36) who rocked the Virgo Super Kings top-order.
For a while it seemed like Bandara’s captain Graeme Smith (39) would be able to steer his side home. But he did not have enough support with Super Kings at 18 for three. Thereafter, Smith and Hasan Raza (19) added 53 runs for the fourth wicket.
Then, Oram and James Foster tried their best to increase the scoring rate. Oram, struggling with a calf injury, hobbled all the way through.
Eleventh man, Bandara (2no) faced just three balls before Virgo’s allotted overs came to and.
In the end it was Leo who defended the modest total very well and set up a grand final date on Saturday, with the unbeaten Gemini Arabians defeating Lions by 16 runs to claim the inaugural MCL title.
Bandara finished the tournament as the fifth most successful bowler, with 10 wickets from his six games, and the third highest catcher in the statistics table with five. He will return to Jubilee Park in April.