Chevrons let down fans
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