Zim out to level series

HARARE - The Zimbabwe cricket team took a day off training yesterday to psyche up for this morning’s must-win ODI match against Sri Lanka in Hambantota.

Zimbabwe need to win today’s match in order to save the series as they currently trail 2-1 with two matches to go.

On Thursday, the tourists posted what appeared to be a healthy score of 310 runs for the loss of eight wickets.

Veteran batsman Hamilton Masakadza resurrected his waning fortunes in the side with a 98-ball 111.

Youthful Tarisai Musakanda fell just two runs short of a half century, all-rounder Sean Williams weighed in with 43 runs while PJ Moor provided late entertainment with a 11-ball 24 as Zimbabwe posted a competitive score.

However, Sri Lanka openers Niroshan Dickwella (102) and Danshka Gunathilaka (116) helped the hosts to a crushing eight-wicket victory as the Zimbabwean fielders chased leather all over the park.

Zimbabwe convenor of selectors Tatenda Taibu said the team will try to bat in the same manner they did on Thursday and hope the bowlers can get a breakthrough.

“It’s just to play the same and take our chances I guess. It was a flatter wicket so it was the skill of getting back to proper basics which the coaching staff wanted,” Taibu told the Daily News from Hambantota yesterday.

“We have to also realise that age is helping the batsmen but the fast bowling department is quite young.”

On batsman Ryan Burl, who missed the third ODI after being hospitalised following a reaction to fish, Taibu said: “Burl is much better now. Just waiting to see how the wicket looks like in the morning (today) to be certain but at this stage I can’t see him getting in.”

Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer said the team is still focussed despite the defeat on Thursday.

“Guys still in high spirits, but of an upset yesterday (Thursday), and we just had tactic meetings today (yesterday) not training,” Cremer said.

“For sure we are certain the series is on the line, we need to click in all three departments (batting, bowling and fielding) for us to win, so hopefully we can continue batting like we have been and also come to the party with the ball and in the field.”

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