The Murali Harmony Cup Unity Team Tours UK

The 14 boys gathered from all across Sri Lanka with 7 players from the North and East and 7 from the North Central, Central, Western and Southern regions of the island landed in England on Monday the 9th of June and settled in at the Freeman School who hosted them for the duration of their stay. On the 10th, the boys trained together at the Stanmore Cricket Club in preparation for the first game of the tour, at Emanuel College on the 11th and there was great anticipation to see how the following day’s game would turn out.

The magnificent game that took place on the 11th, set a wonderful tone for the rest of this tour. Playing against the Combine Trinity Group Schools at the Emanuel College grounds in Battersea, the Unity Team gave it their very best effort. First up to bat, the Unity Team established a score of 164 runs, all out in 42.1 overs with Kaveesh Dilranga from Dharmasoka College scoring a 42 runs for the team. When the Trinity Group stepped up to batch Unity Team Captain, Janith Liyanage had the situation well in hand, leading his team to step up their bowling and fielding. Ravin Sayer from Trinity College, Kandy took 3 wickets for 28 runs and Captain Janith took 4 for 21, and was named the man of the match when the Unity team won by 23 runs, taking out the Trinity group at 142 runs in 45.2 overs.

The tone had been set and the boys were in good stride when they played the second match of the tour against Eton College on the 12th. Once more, their winning streak held up and having won the toss, the Unity Team opted to bat first, establishing a score of 244 for 9 wickets in 50 overs. Kasun Weeranga from Anuradhapura Central College scored a magnificent 59 runs and Kaveesh Dilranga from Dharmasoka was still in great form, scoring 41 runs. They were supported by Captain Janith Liyanage, Sudesh Indunil from Nissanka Maha Vidyalaya in Monaragala and Vice Captain Paramanathan Thavarakaseelan from St. John’s College, Jaffna who all scored in the high 20s.

The brilliant bowling carried through to their second game as well with Ravin Sayer taking 2 wickets for 31 runs, Suresh Indunil with 2 for 32 and Kanagaratnam Thanushan from Tamil MMV, Vavuniya taking 4 for 34 leading to the Murali Unity Teams victory by 83 runs when Eton was run out at 46.2 overs for 161 runs. Thanushan went on to be named the man of the match for his incredible wicket taking which secured the game for the Unity Team.

What better reward for the amazing playing the team had displayed than to give them an opportunity to see the Sri Lankan National Team made up of all their childhood cricketing heroes play England at the very home of cricket - Lords. Watching a game at these grounds is a dream that rarely comes true for even the most ardent cricket lovers anywhere in the world, and the entire Unity team are extremely grateful for this opportunity. Sarah Botham who organized this visit and had been with the team every step of the way was at Lords that day with her father, Sir Ian Botham who played an essential role in the boy’s visit through Beefy’s Charity Foundation. After the thrilling day the boys had to prepare for their final match at Oundle College on the following day.

The final 50 overs game at Oundle College against the Northamptonshire County Combined XI was the toughest yet for the boys. The team was the strongest they had encountered so far and the sunny weather that had blessed them through the early part of the tour had given way to a cold, windy and overcast conditions giving the boys their first true taste of typical English conditions.

Winning the toss, the boys opted to let the Northampton Combined XI bat first, and the team scored a very strong 245 runs, all out at 49.5 overs. Sayer and Thanushan continued to display their skill, taking 3 wickets in 54 runs and 2 for 38 respectively. Their team mate Roshen Fernando from St. Sebastian’s College, Katuneriya also displayed some great talent taking 2 wickets for 31 runs. When it was their turn at the bat, the boys gave it a valiant effort, Janith scoring 50 runs, Sayer 42, Sudesh 33 and Dilranga 24 but the Northampton Combined team to be too great an opponent for the boys who lost by 59 runs, all out at 186 runs in 39.2 overs.

On the 16th, the boys got the chance to try their hand at the newest cricketing trend in UK - Cage Cricket at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton and had a wonderful time trying out this new form of cricket with a twist.

The Foundation of Goodness wishes to convey our most grateful thanks to Sri Lankan Airlines, MAS, Tesco, Hameedias, Beefy’s Charity Foundation, Easton Grange, City of London Freemen’s School, Stanmore Cricket Club, Emanuel College, Eton College, Oundle College, Cage Cricket, Northampton Combined XI team, Trinity Group Schools Team, Eton College Team, MCC Lords, Sarah Botham & Sola Events, The British High Commission and all other kind supporters and well wishers who helped make this tour the experience of a life time for the boys from the Unity Team as they stood as an example to the whole world to show that the spirit of sport can overcome all boundaries in bringing about reconciliation and understanding.



19th June 2014



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