SL vs ZIM Tri-series 2018, 4th ODI, Review: Sri Lanka thump Zimbabwe to register maiden victory

SL vs ZIM Tri-series 2018, 4th ODI, Review: Sri Lanka thump Zimbabwe to register maiden victory

Perera and Chandimal complemented each other perfectly and compiled an unbeaten stand of 57 runs to guide the Lankans to their maiden victory of the series.

Sri Lankan team
Sri Lankan team celebrates a wicket. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Sri Lanka had had a horrendous run in the ongoing tri-nation series in Bangladesh. They were humbled by Zimbabwe in their opening game of the series. and followed it up with another lacklustre show against Bangladesh where the Islanders were thrashed by 163 runs. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe have come back strong following their defeat at the hands of Bangladesh in their first game of the series.

Going into the fourth match, the Lankans wished to open their account with a victory. On the other hand, Zimbabwe were in with an opportunity of sealing a berth in the final of the tournament. However, the Lions hunt down the African team by a margin of five wickets and stormed to their maiden victory of the event. On a slow wicket, Graeme Cremer won the toss and elected to bat first.

Hamilton Masakadza and Solomon Mire got them off to a steady start with a stand of 44 runs in 10 overs. However, Thisara Perera nipped out three wickets in quick succession to push the Zimbabweans on to the back-foot. Lakshan Sandakan, left-arm chinaman bowler, dismissed Sikandar Raza and reduced them to 73/4 in the seventeenth over.

Even as wickets kept falling from the other end, Brendan Taylor maintained his composure and kept the scoreboard ticking. He along with Malcolm Waller stitched together a partnership of 66 runs off 74 balls, which dragged Zimbabwe out of the pits. However, Sandakan broke the ominous-looking stand as Waller nicked the ball into Niroshan Dickwella’s webbings.

However, Taylor compiled another useful stand of 32 runs along with skipper Graeme Cremer who himself churned out 34 useful runs in 42 balls. Nevertheless, Brendan Taylor perished after mustering 58 runs off 80 balls. Post Taylor’s dismissal Nuwan Pradeep cleaned up the tail with three wickets. Subsequently, Zimbabwe were bowled out for 198 runs in 44 overs.

The Lankan struggle

A target of 199 isn’t daunting by any stretch of the imagination. However, bearing in mind Sri Lanka’s dismal performance and the slow nature of the Dhaka wicket, the run-chase seemed a tricky affair. They lost Upul Tharanga early to Tendai Chatara as the left-hander was cleaned up by the fast bowler.

However, Kusal Perera looked solid at the crease and built a partnership of 70 runs off 76 balls along with Kusal Mendis. Following the impressive stand, Blessing Muzarabani inflicted a couple of body blows and pinned both Perera and Mendis to bring Zimbabwe back in contention for a comeback. The pacer added to Lanka’s agony by getting rid of Niroshan Dickwella.

Meanwhile, they also suffered a mini-collapse and slumped to 117/4 from 103/1 within a space of 23 balls. Skipper Dinesh Chandimal held things together and steadily kept eating into the target. However, Asela Gunaratne was dismissed by Kyle Jarvis which got the match back in the balance. Post Gunaratne’s dismissal, Sri Lanka required a further 54 runs off 92 balls.

Thisara Perera joined his skipper at the crease and the duo took Sri Lanka to the threshold of victory. They complemented each other perfectly and compiled an unbeaten stand of 57 runs to guide the Lankans to their maiden victory of the series. While Chandimal displayed calmness, Perera played his shots.

Perera hit some lusty blows and raced away to a knock of 39 runs off 26 balls, which included three humungous sixes. Perera’s all-round performance in the game earned him the Player of the Match award. Both Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka will face Bangladesh in their upcoming encounters and will they will be required to win the game to register a berth in the final.

Brief Scores:

Zimbabwe: 198 all out in 44 overs (Brendan Taylor 58, Graeme Cremer 34; Thisara Perera 33, Nuwan Pradeep 3/28)

Sri Lanka: 202/5 in 44.5 overs (Kusal Perera 49, Thisara Perera 39; Blessing Muzarabani 3/52, Kyle Jarvis 1/34)

Sri Lanka beat Zimbabwe by five wickets

Player of the Match: Thisara Perera