Ervine blitz helps Zim­babwe draw level in ODI se­ries

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Bats­man Craig Ervine hit a quick­fire 69 to help Zim­babwe pull off a four­wicket vic­tory over Sri Lanka in the rain-short­ened fourth one-day in­ter­na­tional and level the five-match se­ries at 2-2 in Ham­ban­tota yes­ter­day.

Chas­ing a Duck­worth-Lewis re­vised tar­get of 219 in 31 overs, Zim­babwe rode on Ervine’s 55ball un­beaten knock to win with 10 balls to spare at the Mahinda Ra­japaksa In­ter­na­tional Sta­dium. Ear­lier, open­ers Niroshan Dick­wella (116) and Danushka Gu­nathi­laka (87) put to­gether 209 runs in Sri Lanka’s 300-6 — be­com­ing the first pair in ODI his­tory to score back-to­back dou­ble cen­tury part­ner­ships. The left­handed bat­ting duo had put on a 229-run match-win­ning stand in the pre­vi­ous ODI on Thurs­day at the same venue but their ef­forts went in vain the second time around.

Solomon Mire (43) and Hamil­ton Masakadza (28) set up the Zim­babwe chase be­fore teenage leg-spin­ner Wanindu Hasaranga, who took three wick­ets, got the open­ers trudg­ing back to the pavil­ion.

But Ervine and Mal­colm Waller (20) made sure the chase re­mained on track with their 43run sixth-wicket part­ner­ship af­ter rain in­ter­rupted play for over one-and-a-half-hours. “We knew we were ahead (of the rate) and we were al­ways in the game and the way we bat­ted was ex­cel­lent,” Zim­babwe skip­per Graeme Cre­mer said in the post-match pre­sen­ta­tion.

“We have seen we can chase down a score and set a score and our bat­ting has come right,” Cre­mer said on the prospect of his side eye­ing a ma­jor se­ries win in over eight years. Ervine, a left-handed bats­man and a right-arm spin­ner, smashed eight fours and a six to get the man of the match award.


For the hosts, Dick­wella hit his second suc­ces­sive cen­tury with a com­mand­ing knock, while Gu­nathi­laka was bowled 13 short of what could have been his second ODI ton. Wick­et­keeper­bats­man Dick­wella, who scored 102 in the third ODI, played a pa­tient 118-ball knock laced with eight bound­aries be­fore be­ing trapped lbw. Zim­babwe off-spin­ner Waller got the two prized wick­ets in suc­ces­sive overs to pull things back for the vis­i­tors.

Pace­man Chris Mpofu also got two wick­ets to rat­tle the Sri Lankan mid­dle-or­der as the hosts slipped from 216-1 to 263-5. “The turn­ing point was when we pulled it back in the last ten overs. Sri Lanka looked like get­ting 340-350, so the way the bowlers pulled it back was ex­cel­lent,” said Cre­mer. Mean­while Cre­mer was docked 20 per cent of his match fee for his team’s slow over rate while the rest of the side was slapped with a 10 per­cent penalty. Zim­babwe were found to be one over short of their tar­get af­ter time al­lowances were taken into con­sid­er­a­tion by the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil (ICC) match ref­eree Chris Broad.

Sri Lanka cap­tain An­gelo Mathews, who lifted his side’s to­tal with his 40-ball 42, said that even though he felt “300 was enough”, the bats­men’s shot se­lec­tion was not up to the mark.

The fifth and de­cid­ing ODI is sched­uled on Mon­day at the same venue. The two sides will also play a one-off Test start­ing July 14.

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