Sri Lankan T20 struggles on opening day

Colombo: Sri Lanka`s inaugural Twenty20 premier league, which has been hit by a lack of big names, began on Thursday in front of sparse crowds with the first game decided by a bowl-out due to overnight showers.

Spin wizard and local hero Muttiah Muralitharan starred in the second of the day`s matches, which are between domestic first-class sides, but the event has struggled to live up to expectations.

Hopes that the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) would echo India`s glitzy IPL competition were dashed because no international players are involved in the league and crowds were thin on the opening day despite free entry.

The Indian cricket board declined to send players following media reports that alleged the tournament had links to disgraced former IPL chief Lalit Modi.

Sri Lanka denied links to Modi, but the boycott of Indian players left the tournament without a television broadcaster.

The SLPL was intended to boost the ruling body`s finances after it was saddled with $69 million bills for co-hosting the 2011 World Cup with India and Bangladesh.

In the first game, Wayamba beat Basnahira 4-1 in the bowl-out at the R. Premadasa stadium in Colombo.


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