Chevrons let down fans

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Mehluli Sibanda Se­nior Sports Re­porter

ZIM­BABWE headed into Sun­day’s tri­an­gu­lar One Day In­ter­na­tional cricket se­ries fi­nal at Queens Sports Club with a view to set­tle scores with Sri Lanka, some­thing they failed to do see­ing that the Asians tri­umphed by six wick­ets with 75 balls to spare.

In 2010, Zim­babwe and Sri Lanka met in an­other tri­an­gu­lar se­ries fi­nal at Harare Sports Club, a match the vis­i­tors clinched by nine wick­ets. It is that de­feat which served as an in­spi­ra­tion for Graeme Cre­mer and the Zim­bab­wean lads as they headed into Sun­day’s fi­nal.

Zim­bab­wean coach Heath Streak made three changes to the team which de­feated West Indies by five runs through the Duck­worth/Lewis method to book a place in the fi­nal. Open­ers Brian Chari, Chamunorwa Chib­habha as well as pace bowler Christo­pher Mpofu made way for Mal­colm Waller, debu­tant Tari­sai Musakanda and left arm seamer Brian Vi­tori.

Zim­babwe won the toss and opted to bat, a move which spelled dis­as­ter for them as they never re­cov­ered from los­ing Peter Moor in the fourth over. Musakanda, in his in­ter­na­tional de­but top scored with 36 off 37 de­liv­er­ies, Sean Wil­liams was the sec­ond high­est scorer on 35 as Zim­babwe were cleaned up for 160 in 36.3 overs.

The Zim­bab­wean bats­men were bam­boo­zled by the Sri Lankan spin­ners, Jef­frey Van­der­say and Asela Gu­naratne who picked up three wick­ets apiece.

Af­ter post­ing such a low score, the only way out for Zim­babwe was to get early wick­ets if they stood any chance of win­ning since Sri Lanka’s re­quired run rate was a mere 3.22 runs per over. Vi­tori, bowl­ing in in­ter­na­tional cricket for the first time since he was cleared in June, picked up a wicket with the first le­git­i­mate de­liv­ery he bowled, trap­ping Dhanan­jaya de Silva leg be­fore wicket for a duck. The left arm seamer took two more wick­ets but all that proved in vain as skip­per Upul Tha­ranga and man of the se­ries Kusal Mendis both made 57 to steer their team to vic­tory. Bril­liant piece of field­ing ac­counted for Mendis, Wil­liams with a stun­ning catch close to the bound­ary off the bowl­ing of Cre­mer.

The fans turned up in their num­bers to wit­ness the fi­nal but they were cer­tainly dis­ap­pointed by the home team’s dis­play. While their field­ing, in par­tic­u­lar the dis­play shown by Wil­liams was top notch, the bat­ting was appalling and that score was never go­ing to chal­lenge the Sri Lankans who topped the stand­ings at the end of the pre­lim­i­nary round. While the next con­firmed se­ries for Zim­babwe is in June next year when they visit Sri Lanka, Streak in­di­cated that they will or­gan­ise some small tours to give the na­tional team play­ers the much needed game time. — @Mdaw­ini_29

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