Sikandar Raza scored 81 of 67 © AFP
Sikandar Raza scored 81 of 67 © AFP

Zimbabwe have made a strong comeback in the series after losing their first game against Bangladesh. Zimbabwe pulled out a narrow victory against Sri Lanka by 12 runs. Zimbabwe put up a challenging 290 to the scoreboard after they were put to bat. Hamilton Masakadza (73) and Sikandar Raza (81*) were the top scorer for Zimbabwe.

Sri Lanka kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Thisara Perera batted brilliantly with the tail scoring 67. At one point it seemed he would take Sri Lanka home but the side lost momentum when the all-rounder fell to Tendai Chatara in the 47th over. Chatara was the star bowler for Zimbabwe picking 4 for 33.

In June 2016, Zimbabwe had won series against Sri Lanka (3-2). Both top scorers from the match starred in the series. Masakadza was awarded the Man of the Series then whereas Raza was the Man of  the Match in the decider.

Sri Lanka just short

The Sri Lankan seemed to have a plan of bowling short to the Zimbabwe players. They were continuously short of a length. It was in the 25th over when the first wide was bowled down the leg side, the four wide balls before that were due to height.

Sri Lanka gave away 14 extras. More than 50 per cent of the extras came in form of wide balls over the batsmen’s head. Sri Lanka also ended up just short of 12 runs.

Zimbabwe’s day

Zimbabwe might have won the match but they they did not get off to the start they would have liked. In the first match, there was only one batsman who scored at a strike rate above 60. Whereas today there was only one batsman who’s strike rate fell below 70.

Masakadza notched up ten fours during his knock — going past Zimbabwe’s tally of fours in the previous ODI (9). The difference in boundaries between the previous match(12) and today’s match (33) is 21.

Except Malcolm Waller every bowler took wickets, whereas Raza was the only wicket-taker in the last match.

Flashback Shere Bangla

December 8, 2006 was the first time an international match was played at the Shere Bangla National Stadium, Dhaka. It was the fourth ODI between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. The current Bangladesh captain, Mashrafe Mortaza bowled the first ball in international cricket at this ground.

Zimbabwe featured in both first and the 100th international match at the venue. Masakadza and Brendan Taylor are the only players who played then for Zimbabwe. In that match Masakadza scored 13 off 29 and Taylor scored 4 off 29, whereas today they scored 73 off 83 and 38 off 51 against Sri Lanka.

Mortaza was spotted on the ground watching the match as well.

Perera’s almost sealed it for Lanka

Sri Lanka lost two quick wickets and were reduced to 47 for 2 in the seventh over. However Kusal Perera continued his aggressive batting and piled up 80 before falling. Thisara who batted with the tail almost took Sri Lanka home with his blitzkrieg (64 from 37 balls).

This is Sri Lanka’s 24th loss in last 30 ODIs starting 2017.

Brief Scores:

Zimbabwe 290 (Hamilton Masakadza 73, Sikandar Raza 81*; Asela Gunaratne 3 for 37) win against Sri Lanka 278 (Kusal Perera 80, Thisara Perera 64; Tendai Chatara 4 for 33)  by 12 runs.