Keilor fires up, bounces back and eyes top four berth

Kaushal Lokuarachchi. Photo by Damjan Janevski.

By Lance Jenkinson

Keilor is knocking on the door of the Victorian Turf Cricket Association senior division top four after a six-wicket win over Sunshine United in a one-day game at Joe Brown Recreation Reserve on Saturday.

The Blues needed a positive response after collapsing with the bat against Doutta Stars the week before.

They got it with a stellar performance from start to finish against United.

Blues captain Daniel Stavris could sense his side was eager to atone.

“We were pretty fired up from the start,” he said.

The winning impetus started in the field for Keilor.

The bowlers stuck to their plans and the fielders did not let them down by assisting in nine of the 10 wickets taken, including seven catches and two run-outs.

Sunshine United was all out for 125 in 35.2 overs.

“It was pressure built by fielding, bowling and talk,” Stavris said.

“Every time they looked like getting away from us, someone stepped up and took a catch or bowled a good delivery to get a wicket.”

Upal Bandara was the leading hand with the ball for Keilor.

He finished with 3-21 off 5.2 overs, including the removal of two of the top three batsmen.

“He’s been fired up and bowling quick,” Stavris said.

“He’s bowling in good areas and not really giving them loose deliveries to put away.”

Kaushal Lokuarachchi put the clamps on with 2-19 off eight economical overs and led the charge in Keilor’s successful run chase.

The Blues cruised to the target with 33 balls to spare, Lokuarachchi carving out 41 off 61.

“He’s been super this year,” Stavris said. “They couldn’t play him [when he was bowling].

“He’s really stepped up and he’s been making plenty of runs. He releases the pressure off all the other batsmen.”

Finlay Trenouth also played a key role with 33 off 45.

Trenouth, an England under-19 international and Somerset county player, has brought more to Keilor than just his cricket prowess.

“He’s batted well all season since he got here,” Stavris said.

“He’s won us two or three games off his own bat. While he’s a super player, he brings another dimension to the side: his personality.

“He’s funny, he’s a joker, he’s just great to have around the group and everyone loves him.”

Keilor, level on points with fourth-placed Spotswood, will travel to Seddon for a crucial two-day game at Hanmer Reserve this weekend.

Sunshine United, meanwhile, will face a tough test against the ladder-leading Doutta Stars at Selwyn Park.

In division 1, PEGS is merely clinging to fourth place in the north group after a disappointing six-run loss to Haig Fawkner.

Keilor Park remains outside the four after falling 23 runs short against Westmeadows.

In the west group, Deer Park’s finals hopes hit a snag with a six-wicket loss to Tullamarine.

In division 3, Sunshine is still top of the league after beating Williamstown Imperials by six wickets.

Sunshine Heights consolidated its spot in the four with a six-wicket win over Footscray United.