Thursday, January 26, 2023

Melbourne Renegades: Kellapotha taking opportunities in the Top End

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Leg spinner Ruwantha Kellapotha has been impressing in Darwin as part of the Melbourne Renegades Academy squad playing in the Top End T20 tournament.

Kellapotha claimed Player of the Match honours in last night’s win against the Northern Territory claiming figures of 1/16 from his four overs and 10* with the bat.

The leg spinner from hailing from Casey South-Melbourne Cricket Club impressed most with his control, after losing the toss and being sent into bat first, the Renegades bowlers had to contend with a wet ball in the second innings.

Conditions under lights in Darwin are heavily impacted by moisture from the dew that comes in after sunset. Five of the seven games so far have been won by the team batting second and barring the first match, all teams have opted to bowl first after winning the toss.

Kellapotha picked up the Renegades first wicket in the eighth over with the score at 60 after the Northern Territory looked to be cruising to the Renegades total of 160.

“It was pretty tough conditions, the same as the last couple of games but we can’t make excuses,” Kellapotha said after the win.

“I learnt a lot from the last match and at the last couple of training sessions we’ve been putting water on the ball and trying to bowl in the nets, so I thought I’d prepared well.

“It has been great experience [in Darwin], I’ve played First Class cricket back in Sri Lanka but these are totally different conditions between there and here.”

The dangerous D’Arcy Short was the key wicket, and once he was dismissed for 69 (52 balls) the games momentum shifted.

Earlier Mackenzie Harvey top scored for the Renegades Academy with 43 (34 balls) and was supported by Northcote Cricket Club product Jack Lalor (39 from 29).

Newly contracted Victorian rookie Campbell Kellaway finished off the innings (24 from 17) with help from Kellapotha (10* from 8).

Captain Will Sutherland took it upon himself to bowl the big overs of the match and delivered conceding just five runs from the 18th over and only six runs from the final over, collecting two wickets along the way.

The Renegades Academy next face Papua New Guinea on Saturday in their final match and will be looking to finish with two wins and two losses.

Melbourne Renegades Academy Squad:
Mackenzie Harvey (c), Will Sutherland (c), Will Crook, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Tom Jackson, Ruwantha Kellapotha, Campbell Kellaway, Jack Lalor, Fergus O’Neill, Jack Prestwidge, Tom Rogers, James Seymour, Kyle Williamson

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