Sri Lanka crush Zimbabwe by 9 wkts in tri-series

Bulawayo: Captain Tillakaratne Dilshan cracked an unbeaten 60 to lead Sri Lanka to a comprehensive nine-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in a rain-curtailed one-dayer in the tri-nation series here on Tuesday.

Chasing 119 for a win from 26 overs, Dilshan took the inexperienced Zimbabwe bowlers to the cleaners with his 45-ball innings which contained seven fours and a six.

He was given able support by his opening partner Upul Tharanga (37-ball 40) as Sri Lanka romped home with 10.4 overs to spare at the Queens Sports Club here.

Earlier, off-spinner Suraj Randiv led a disciplined Sri Lankan bowling charge with three scalps to skittle Zimbabwe out for 118 in 24.5 overs after Dilshan won the toss and inserted the home side.

The match was reduced to a 26-over affair after the start was delayed by more than four hours due to rain. Tharanga and Dilshan, who stitched an 86-run opening stand, almost clinched the issue for Sri Lanka, but the opening combo came to an end when wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor found Tharanga short of the crease in 11th over. Tharanga cracked six fours during his breezy 37-ball innings.

Dinesh Chandimal (10 not out) then paired up with Dilshan to complete the formalities as Sri Lanka reached 119 for one in 15.2 overs.

Tuesday’s win means that all the three teams are on two points with a victory each from two matches.

Sri Lanka had lost to India on Sunday. Zimbabwe had beaten India on Friday in the tournament opener.

Earlier, Randiv, who gave away 23 runs for the three wickets, received good support from Dilhara Fernando (2/26), Ajantha Mendis (2/21) and Jeevan Mendis (2/12).

Opener Hamilton Masakadza waged a lone battle for Zimbabwe as his 62 off 69 balls helped the hosts cross the 100-run mark before being all out in 24.5 overs.

Masakadza, who cracked four fours and a six, was the only batsman to negotiate the disciplined Sri Lankan bowling.

Zimbabwe were off to a rather slow start as the first five overs yielded only 18 runs.

The hosts suffered an early blow when opener Taylor (2) was removed by paceman Fernando in the second over.

Greg Lamb (10) then joined Masakadza but spinner Ajantha Mendis struck just when the duo were trying to stitch a partnership. Lamb edged a turning delivery to square leg, where Jeevan Mendis ran backwards to take the catch.

Masakadza then found the company of Craig Ervine and the duo added 36 runs for the third-wicket, although the latter’s contribution was only seven.

After Ervine fell prey to Ajantha Mendis, who scalped his second wicket, Charles Coventry contributed run-a-ball 11 before Randiv removed him in the 16th over.

From thereon, Sri Lankan bowlers took control of the match by taking advantage of the moisture on the pitch as the hosts lost four wickets, including that of skipper Elton Chigumbura (1), for just nine runs.

Masakadza proved his mettle but did not found support from his batting colleagues as Zimbabwe were left struggling at 92 for eight after 19th over.

Masakadza helped Zimbabwe to reach a three-digit score before falling to Fernando in the 25th over of the match.



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