Zim chase series win

HARARE – The Zimbabwe cricket team is chasing a rare ODI series win against a higher ranked team besides Bangladesh when they take on Sri Lanka in Hambantota today.

Zimbabwe’s last series win over a top Test-playing nation was way back in 2001 when the side beat New Zealand 2-1.

Since then, local cricket has been through a lot with at times Zimbabwe struggling to beat Associate sides.

However, there seems to be some stability back in the game and the team has shown great potential in the ongoing series against Sri Lanka.

At the moment, the five-match series is delicately poised at 2-2 heading into today’s encounter.

In the first match, Zimbabwe registered a convincing six-wicket win in Galle where they chased down an imposing total of 316.

This was the first time in 296 ODIs played in Sri Lanka that a team batting second had been able to chase down a score of 300+.

The hosts clawed back into the series with a crushing seven-wicket win in the second ODI in Galle and got in the driving seat with another eight-wicket victory in the third match in Hambantota.

However, Heath Streak’s charges levelled the series again with a deserved four-wicket Duckworth Lewis win during the rain-affected fourth ODI at Hambantota on Saturday.

Batsmen Solomon Mire and Hamilton Masakadza have so far managed to score a century each for Zimbabwe in the first and third ODIs respectively while Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza and Craig Ervine have contributed half tons in the campaign.

PJ Moor and Malcolm Waller have also weighed in with handy scores quite often.

Zimbabwe convenor of selectors Tatenda Taibu believes the tourists have done enough to bag the series with a win today.

“They (Zimbabwe players) realise that they are playing better than them (Sri Lankans) which is a huge boost, they need not be told anything else,” Taibu told the Daily News from Sri Lanka yesterday.

“When a player believes in something, that is the best thing you can have. They are all looking in great shape. I don’t really want to entertain any other thoughts as it is.

“I want to keep the same thought I have that, we will win the series. We have to continue to work hard to get them matches; Game time is very important.”

Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer speaking to ESPN Sports said he was as relaxed as can be getting into the final adding that pressure is on Sri Lanka and not his charges.

“I assume, the pressure is more on them because they are expected to beat us. We won’t take any pressure into the final because we will take the confidence from this game and know that if we have to bat first, we’ll have to set a good score and if we have to chase, we can chase down the score,” Cremer said.

“The confidence is pretty high.”

“We’ve had a few good games and stuff while I’ve been the captain, but nothing like this. A series win would obviously be excellent for us and myself. To beat a top team like Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka will be huge for us.”  


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