Raza gives Zim­babwe his­toric ODI tri­umph

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

HAM­BAN­TOTA: Sikan­dar Raza starred with the bat and ball to help Zim­babwe edge out Sri Lanka by three wick­ets and clinch a his­toric se­ries vic­tory in the fifth one-day in­ter­na­tional yes­ter­day. Tak­ing the se­ries 3-2 in Ham­ban­tota, the 11th-ranked Zim­babwe reg­is­tered their maiden se­ries win in Sri Lanka and first over­seas tri­umph in eight years. Off-spin­ner Raza claimed three wick­ets to re­strict the hosts to 203-8 af­ter Zim­babwe elected to field first. He then an­chored a tense chase with an un­beaten 27 as the vis­i­tors won with 71 balls to spare. Zim­babwe opener Hamil­ton Masakadza top-scored with a flu­ent 73 be­fore rookie off­spin­ner Ak­ila Danan­jaya struck back with four wick­ets to rat­tle the Zim­babwe mid­dle-or­der.

The vis­i­tors slipped from 137-1 to 175-7 — los­ing six wick­ets for 38 runs but Raza and skip­per Graeme Cre­mer (11 not out) hung on for an un­beaten 29-run stand as the peren­nial un­der­dogs erupted in cel­e­bra­tions. “Happy that Sikan­dar came to the party. It turned around very quickly but happy we pulled it off in the end,” an elated Cre­mer said fol­low­ing their win.

“This win is very spe­cial, fans must be jump­ing around back home. We knew we’re play­ing good enough cricket to put them un­der pres­sure.” Ear­lier the Pak­istan-born Raza, who opened the bowl­ing for the vis­it­ing side, re­turned with im­pres­sive fig­ures of 3-21 at the Mahinda Ra­japaksa In­ter­na­tional Sta­dium.

Raza, named man of the match, was com­ple­mented by Cre­mer, who took two wick­ets with his wily leg-spin, most no­tably the prized scalp of his op­po­site num­ber An­gelo Math­ews (24).

‘WEAPON WITH THE NEW BALL’

“Raza is a def­i­nite weapon with the new ball. I was hop­ing for a break­through or two and he gave us that in the pow­er­play,” Cre­mer said. Sri Lanka suf­fered from a lack of part­ner­ships but opener Danushka Gu­nathi­laka (52) and Asela Gu­naratne (59 not out) hit gritty half-cen­turies to steady the home side.

The hosts slipped to 153-8 in the 42nd over be­fore Gu­naratne and Dush­man­tha Chameera (18 not out) put on an un­beaten 50-run stand for the ninth wicket. Pace­man Tendai Chatara drew first blood af­ter get­ting opener Niroshan Dick­wella-who came into the match with two suc­ces­sive cen­turies-caught be­hind for three. The wicket also pulled the brakes on Sri Lanka’s ram­pag­ing open­ing starts in the pre­vi­ous one-day in­ter­na­tion­als against the vis­it­ing African side. Dick­wella and Gu­nathi­laka made ODI his­tory in de­liv­er­ing back-to-back dou­ble cen­tury part­ner­ships in the pre­vi­ous two con­tests against Zim­babwe. Math­ews said even though the con­di­tions were “tough” for bat­ting, their fi­nal run tally was far be­low what was ex­pected. “Credit to Zim­babwe, they gave us a re­ally tough time and we didn’t have any an­swers,” said a dis­ap­pointed Math­ews. The de­feat was Sri Lanka’s worst bi­lat­eral ODI se­ries in re­cent times. The eighth-ranked side face In­dia for a full se­ries later this month. — AFP

HAM­BAN­TOTA: Zim­babwe crick­eters pose for pho­tog­ra­phers af­ter vic­tory in the fifth one-day in­ter­na­tional (ODI) cricket match be­tween Sri Lanka and Zim­babwe at the Suriyawewa Mahinda Ra­japakse In­ter­na­tional Cricket Sta­dium in the south­ern dis­trict of Ham­ban­tota yes­ter­day. — AFP

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