Zimbabwe v Sri Lanka, Tri Series Final Review: Zimbabwe proves incompetent as Sri Lanka lift the trophy

Zimbabwe v Sri Lanka, Tri Series Final Review: Zimbabwe proves incompetent as Sri Lanka lift the trophy

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka. (Photo by JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Zimbabwe once again showed up their incompetent side as Sri Lanka easily cruised to a simple 6 wicket win to lift the Tri-nation series at the Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo. The fighting spirit which the hosts whose in the series perhaps made the tie look bit interesting despite Sri Lanka being the clear favourites.

The kind of attitude that helped Zimbabwe pip West Indies and come to the final was completely missing, to say at least. Rains and other circumstances might have played a bigger role in their journey till the final but it was clearly evident that a series of bad decisions was perhaps the chief reason that led to this dismal show.

First of all, there were unnecessary changes made in the line-up which played throughout the series. The shuffled in their line-up for the final but could not solve their batting woes, instead added more worries. Later, dubious shot selection led to a sloppy performance with the bat saw the home slip to 160 all out on a batting friendly track.

Sri Lanka bowlers had them quite easily. Leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay and seamer Asela Gunaratne claimed three wickets apiece as Zimbabwe and then bowled out inside 37 overs. Vandersay broke through Zimbabwe’s middle-order before Gunaratne made mopped up the tail.

Leaving out openers Brian Chari and Chamu Chibhabha did not help as replacements Peter Moor and Hamilton Masakadza failing to give a sound start and went back to the pavilion inside the first five overs on a drizzly morning when play was briefly interrupted by the weather on two occasions.

Debutant Tarisai Musakanda given an international debut at No. 3 and Craig Ervine revived the innings after the rain delay with a 53-run stand for the third wicket. But, their revival did not thrive for long as Vandersay snapped both the batsman. The first to depart was Ervine, getting him caught and bowled for 25 in the 6th over and then had the debutant caught at slip for 36 in his following over.

The collapse has begun. Sachith Pathirana dismissed Sikandar Raza Butt and Malcolm Waller in the space of three overs, and Vandersay ensured captain Graeme Cremer did not come up with a fighting knock as Zimbabwe slid further to 133 for seven.

The chase wasn’t smooth for Sri Lanka as left-arm fast bowler Brian Vitori ignited interest by rocking the opposition top order with three quick dismissals.

Opener Dhanajaya de Silva was trapped lbw off the very first delivery of the second innings. Three overs later, he came back and packed off Kusal Perera and Niroshan Dickwella in back to back overs and reduce the Lankans to 42/3.

But, Kusal Mendis (57) and Upul Tharanga (57) stood string and piloted the chase adding 75 runs for the 4th wicket. The duo ensured a smooth journey towards the target before Mendis departed in the 28th over. The well-set skipper along with the support of Aseala Gunartane took care to the rest of the task by adding an unbeaten 49 runs stand for the 5th wicket and finishing the job with 6 wickets in hands.

Brief Scores: 

Zimbabwe: 160 in 36.3 overs (Musakanda 36; Aseala Gunaratne 3/10)

Sri Lanka: 166/4 in 37.3 overs (Kusal Mendis 57; Brian Vitori 3/52)

Player of the match: Kusal Mendis (Sri Lanka)

Player of the series:  Kusal  Mendis (Sri Lanka)