Sri Lanka win tri-series
Sri Lanka 166-4 37.3 overs (Tharanga 57*, Mendis 57, Vitori 3/52) beat
Zimbabwe 160 all out 36.3 overs (Musakanda 36, Williams 35, Gunaratne 3/10, Vandersay 3/50) by six wickets
A DISMAL batting display by Zimbabwe saw Sri Lanka win the Blue Mountain Achelleion Cup triangular One Day International cricket series with a six-wicket victory over the home side at Queens Sports Club yesterday.
Sri Lankan skipper Upul Tharanga compiled a patient unbeaten 57 runs off 98 deliveries, man of the match as well as player of the series Kusal Mendis also made 57 as the Asians made 166 for the loss of four wickets in 37.3 overs to romp to victory. This after Zimbabwe, who won the toss and opted to bat were cleaned up for 160 in 36.3 overs, the best score coming from debutant Tarisai Musakanda on 36, Sean Williams second best with 35.
It was a disappointing result for the good crowd which turned up to witness the final match of the triangular series, a three-team contest which also featured West Indies.
Zimbabwe made three changes to the team which beat West Indies by five runs on the Duckworth/Lewis method on Friday. Malcolm Waller, Brian Vitori, Musakanda were brought in for Brian Chari, Chamunorwa Chibhabha and Christopher Mpofu. Sri Lanka picked all rounder Dasun Shanaka as well as Jeffrey Vandersay for Nuwan Pradeep and Shehan Jayasuriya.
Hamilton Masakadza and Peter Moor opened the batting for Zimbabwe. Moor was the first to go for one run, dismissed by Suranga Lakmal, taken at mid wicket by Sachit Pathirana, Zimbabwe losing their first wicket with just eight runs to their credit. Masakadza was the second wicket for Zimbabwe, trapped leg before wicket by Nuwan Kulasekara for 10 runs, the 22nd time the veteran has been dismissed that way in ODIs.
Musakanda and Craig Ervine brought some stability to the Zimbabwean innings. The partnership was worth 53 runs until Ervine punched back a delivery from leg spinner Jeffrey Vandersay back to an appreciative bowler to depart for 25.
After hitting Vandersay for a six, Musakanda went next ball, getting an outside edge to be taken at first slip by a diving Dhananjaya de Silva for 36 off 37 deliveries, an innings made up of three fours and one six.
Pathirana, in his fifth over picked up the wicket of the in-form Sikandar Raza, out leg before wicket for five, Zimbabwe in all sorts of trouble at 89 for five. Waller perished playing a big shot, caught and bowled by Pathirana for 14 to leave Zimbabwe on 108 for six.
A magnificent catch by Kusal Mendis at cover accounted for Zimbabwean captained Graeme Cremer, Vandersay picking up is third wicket of the innings.
Williams, the last remaining batsmen for Zimbabwe fell for 35, undone by Asela Gunaratne’s spin, getting a leading edge to present De Silva with a simple catch, Zimbabwe eight down for 155.
Tendai Chisoro could not replicate his heroics against West Indies, becoming Gunaratne’s second wicket, caught behind by Niroshan Dickwella for five runs. Gunaratne finished off the Zimbabwe innings when he trapped Vitori leg before wicket for a twoball duck. Gunaratne picked up three wickets for 10 in 4.3 overs while Vandersay also took three, coming at the expense of 50 runs in 10 overs. Vitori, bowling for the first time in international cricket since he was cleared in June had De Silva leg before wicket for a duck. In his third over, Vitori struck again, the dangerous Dickwella bowled for a run a ball 16. Kusal Perera became Vitori’s third wicket, looking to play a big shot only to pick out Waller at mid on.
Tharanga was put down on 18 by Masakadza at extra cover off Williams’ bowling. A stunning catch by Williams taken close to the boundary got rid of Mendis off Cremer’s bowling. Tharanga reached his 50 from 97 balls, having put away six fours, getting to the half ton with a boundary off Raza. He finished things off with a six to win it for his team.
Vitori ended up with three for 52 runs in nine overs, Cremer picked up one for 32 runs in 10 overs with two maidens. — @ Mdawini_29 years and an improvement is needed next year. There were decent runs from Ngezi Platinum Stars after the introduction of Tonderai Ndiraya as well as new comers Bulawayo City. It was not the same though for the other new comers Mutare City and Border Strikers who finished in the bottom two. ZPC Kariba, Harare City, How Mine, Triangle United, Hwange, Chapungu and Tsholotsho will be happy with avoiding a bottom two finish in the league.
Sri Lanka were clinical in the field to bowl Zimbabwe out for 160. — Getty Images