Zim stun Sri Lanka

HARARE - Sikandar Raza put in a man-of-the-match performance as Zimbabwe beat Sri Lanka by 12 runs in the second match of the ODI tri-series at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh yesterday.

The right-handed batsman scored a whirlwind and unbeaten 67-ball 81 batting at number five to help Zimbabwe post a competitive 290 for the loss of six wickets.

Opener Hamilton Masakadza had laid the foundation for the huge score with a well-worked 73 from 83 deliveries before he was caught in the 28th over with Zimbabwe sitting pretty on 142-3.

Masakadza had starred in a first wicket partnership with Solomon Mire (34) which was worth 75 runs.

Wicketkeeper batsman Brendan Taylor weighed in with 38 runs before he was clean bowled by medium pacer Thisara Perera while Malcolm Waller and PJ Moor added 29 and 19 runs respectively.

Raza came back to claim a wicket for 54 runs in his 10-over spell but crucially made his presence felt in the field where he took three fantastic catches.

Seamer Tendai Chatara was the pick of the Zimbabwe bowlers after finishing with figures of 4-33 from 8.1 overs while captain Graeme Cremer and Kyle Jarvis picked two wickets each.

“We could not have hoped for anything better with the bat. 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,” Cremer said after the match.

“We know the quality Sri Lanka have in their batting so credit to our bowlers as well. We now play Sri Lanka again in the next game. It will be interesting to see how Sri Lanka v Bangladesh goes.”

Raza also praised the team for showing great character to hold on to a cliff-hanger of victory.

“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 (Solomon Mire) did exactly what we asked for,” Raza said.

“We trust Solo with decision-making and he's one of the best hitters of the ball. The partnership with Brendan (Taylor) 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 (Perera) and we did get that.”

Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews, who is proving to be a good customer for Zimbabwe, bemoaned losing wickets at crucial intervals.

“We were scrappy from the outset, gave away too many runs in the first 10 overs. They had the wickets in the last 10 overs to capitalise on it. The wicket settled a little bit after the dew came in, but we also had wickets in hand,” Mathews said.

“The run rate was pretty good, but we just kept losing wickets. Thisara was fantastic with bat and ball and Kusal batted brilliantly. Unfortunately the others couldn't convert that. Lots of positives. We can certainly improve and come back harder next time.”

Mathews added 42 runs, Dinesh Chandimal (34) while a late siege from Thisara Perera (64) almost wrestled a win for Sri Lanka from the jaws of defeat.

Sri Lanka will quickly have to regroup and take on host Bangladesh on Saturday before facing Zimbabwe again on Monday.

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