Zimbabwe bounce back to beat Sri Lanka in nail biter

It was a spectacle of cricket as Zimbabwe beat Sri Lanka by 12 runs in the second TriNation Series match at Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

Zimbabwe lost the toss and were asked to bat, keen to put Monday’s horror show behind them with a showing against a Sri Lanka side themselves in need of a performance after a dreadful 2016.

The flourishing partnership between openers Hamilton Masakadza and Solomon Mire delivered 75 runs before the latter was caught making a needless shot for 43.

Masakadza pushed on even though Craig Ervine was out cheap again.

He was helped to his 73 by Brendan Taylor in a partnership that had looked untroubled until Masakadza made a slaphappy shot, probably mis-timing it to be caught at mid-off.

Taylor then let one creep between bat and pad to remove his middle stump.

By that time he had been joined by the ever dependable Sikandar Raza who paced his innings brilliantly to register 81 not out from 67 balls. Malcolm Waller (29) and Peter Moor (19) ably assisted him as Zimbabwe made a big total of 290/9.

Sri Lanka started at a pace of knots. Kusal Perera flayed the opening bowlers Raza and Kyle Jarvis and after two overs the score was on 24-0.

With the score seeming to be galloping away Jarvis got Upul Tharanga who made an unnecessary shot. Moor was happy to collect.

Kusal Mendis was out seven balls later this time Tendai Chatara getting him to pick up captain Graeme Cremer on his own for 0.

The next week took a while to come but it would have been one Blessing Muzarabani and indeed the rest of the ream would have been waiting for. The danger man was out for 80 with man of the match Raza collecting.

Former captain Thisara Perera claimed the fastest half century by Sri Lanka against Zimbabwe but he had very little support and wickets kept falling around him. He perished for a 64 that was just off 37 balls.

The tailenders survived one over from Cremer but with first ball of the 49th over, Dushmantha Chameera simply had no control over Chatara’s delivery and it flew over to substitute fielder Brandon Mavuta who was only but grateful for his first significant contribution in a senior match.

Sri Lanka were bowled out for 269.

Man of the match Raza:

I did plenty wrong.The way I started with the ball was exactly what the team didn’t want. But the way we bounced back showed our character. I think Solo did exactly what we asked for. We trust Solo with decision-making and he’s one of the best hitters of the ball. The partnership with Brendan, and in the end with PJ Moor came in handy. We showed a lot of character. We always knew one wicket would bring another. We always wanted that wicket of Thisara and we did get that.

Zim captain Cremer:

Sikandar came good with bat and ball.Shows the character of the team to bounce back after the beating in the last game. At one point, we thought 260 would be a par score. We know the quality Sri Lanka have in their batting so credit to our bowlers as well.

Sri Lanka and Bangladesh play at the same venue on Friday. Their captain Matthews said of this match, “Lots of positives. We can certainly improve and come back harder next time”.

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