Taylor guides Zimbabwe to an easy win
Harare: Continuing their giant-killing spree, hosts Zimbabwe rode on Brendan Taylor`s second ODI ton to pull off a spectacular eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in an inconsequential match of the cricket tri-series here today.
With both the teams having already made it to the summit clash, today`s match was of merely academic interest but Zimbabwe proved that their back-to-back wins against India was no fluke as they upstaged Sri Lanka in the dress-rehearsal for Wednesday`s final.
Put into bat, Sri Lanka got off to a flier, courtesy the 122-run stand between captain Tillakaratne Dilshan (78) and Upul Tharanga (69) but the Zimbabwe bowlers showed tremendous resilience to eventually bowl out the visitors for a modest 236 in 47.5 overs at the Harare Sports Club.
And with Taylor (119 not out) extending his sensational form in the tournament, Zimbabwe cruised to 240 for two in 47.5 overs to clinch the match.
Taylor`s sterling unbeaten 137-ball knock was studded with nine fours and a six.
Taylor got good support from Chamu Chibhaba (58) with whom he shared 134 runs for the second wicket and then completed the chase in Tatenda Taibu`s (42 not out) company with the duo putting on an unbeaten 92-run stand.
Earlier, Sri Lanka could not make the most of a flying start and folded for 236 inside 48 overs.
Sri Lanka were off to a brilliant start with Dilshan (78 off 66 balls) and Tharanga (69 off 97 balls) adding 122 runs for the opening stand at a run-a-ball rate.
The Zimbabwean bowlers, however, made a spirited comeback after the initial thrashing and ran through the middle and lower order to bowl out the Lankans in 47.5 overs.
For the hosts, Chris Mpofu, Prosper Utseya and Graeme Cremer scalped two wickets apiece.
Apart from the openers, only three other Lankan batsman reached double digit scores.
Dilshan wasted no time in asserting himself and thrived in Tharanga`s company as the duo took the Zimbabwean attack by the scruff of its neck.
Zimbabwe looked in for a leather-hunt as the Lankan openers took the score past the 100-mark without showing any signs of a let-up.
Finally, Utseya not only broke the stand but also triggered a mid innings collapse when he removed Dilshan and last match`s centurion Dinesh Chandimal in quick successions to bring some relief to the Zimbabwean camp.
Sri Lanka suddenly started losing wickets at regular intervals, courtesy some tidy work by the Zimbabwean bowlers as they brought down the Lankan innings with 2.1 overs to spare.