Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka clash in inconsequential tie
Harare: Assured of a slot in the final after knocking India out, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe square off in the last preliminary match of the ODI tri-series here on Monday hoping to get a measure of each other before the summit clash.
The result of the match is only of academic interest though a win for any of the side would come as a psychological boost ahead of the final.
The Zimbabweans would be looking to shock the Lankans, something they did twice against India but failed to do against the Islanders the first time around.
The two are diametrically opposite sides and the contrast is evident in the batting line-ups.
After the rather inconsistent show early on, the Lankan line-up finally struck form yesterday and Dinesh Chandimal struck a fluent hundred to make his presence felt.
The likes of skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan and Chamara Kapugedera are in good knick and would prove difficult to contain or dismiss for the Zimbabwean bowlers.
Without regular stars like Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka`s batting seemed brittle to start with but has gradually found its footing in the series.
On the bowling front, the Lankans have a decent line-up with Nuwan Kulasekara and Dilhara Fernando heading the pace department. Ajantha Mendis spearheads the spin attack but has been rather lackluster with not many wickets to show for.
The Zimbabweans, on the other hand, are riding high on the historic back-to-back wins over India. On the first occasion, their batting did the trick while the second time around, the African team`s bowlers stifled the Indians.
Craig Ervin, Brendon Taylor and Hamilton Masakdaza have been in good touch up the order though the aggressive Charles Coventry is yet to play an innings of consequence.
The bowlers put on an impeccable show in the previous match with pacers Andy Blignaut and Ray Price producing economical spells.
Sri Lanka squad: Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), Angelo Mathews (vice-capt), Upul Tharanga, Thilan Samaraweera, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Chamara Kapugedera, Suraj Randiv, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thilan Thushara, Ajantha Mendis, Jeevan Mendis, Dilhara Fernando, Chamara Silva, Thissira Perera.
Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura (capt), Andy Blignaut, Chamu Chibhabha, Charles Coventry, Graeme Cremer, Craig Ervine, Greg Lamb, Hamilton Masakadza, Chris Mpofu, Ray Price, Ed Rainsford, Vusi Sibanda, Tatenda Taibu, Brendan Taylor, Prosper Utseya.