Manjula Guruge savours match-winning knock

The UAE Exchange batsman says his final over heroics in the UBL Twenty20 final beats any of his past achievements.

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ABU DHABI // Manjula Guruge has savoured some memorable moments on the cricket pitch, but none comes close to his match-winning knock in the UBL Twenty20 final. Guruge, the UAE Exchange batsman, had to score 10 runs from the last three deliveries, and having run a couple in the first ball he faced, the one that followed was sent towards the wide long on fence and the next took a thick outside edge to race into the vacant third man to leave Eurocon Alubond, the opposition, shell-shocked. "I have had some moments to celebrate but to hit the last two balls for fours and win a final beats them all," said the tall Sri Lankan medium pacer, who guided the UAE Exchange Centre to a two-wicket victory at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Friday.

"I don't get much batting as I would have wished for, but I am very happy I was able to win the game for my team when the opportunity came," he added. In addition to Guruge's heroics, it was Asim Ijaz, who held the innings together until the final over with a well compiled half century. He was out first ball in that over, which paved the way for Guruge's entry. Saqib Ali, the UAE all-rounder, who fell for 20 from 11 deliveries, said: "We always had hopes as long as Asim was at the wicket, and Manjula completed the job for us with a remarkable finish." Ali, who won the man of the tournament award for his 320 runs and nine wickets in the six matches, added: "We were chasing an eight-plus (per over) score and that doesn't give much time to settle in.

"I got my shots right at the start but then you get the odd one which I top-edged. We needed a concentrated effort from the team and that was what won the game for us."