HARARE – Zimbabwe lost their second match of the ongoing ODI tri-series in Bangladesh going down by five wickets to Sri Lanka at the Shere Bangla National Stadium yesterday.
Sri Lanka’s Thisara Perera starred with both bat and ball to help his side secure their first victory and ensure they remain alive in the tournament that also involves the hosts Bangladesh.
Perera led an inspired Sri Lankan bowling attack to help bowl out Zimbabwe for 198.
The Sri Lanka allrounder claimed four wickets with his medium-pace as Zimbabwe survived 44 overs after electing to bat first.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Brendan Taylor provided the only resistance as he top scored for Heat Streak’s men with 58.
Perera, who ran through the Zimbabwe top-order including Taylor's wicket, was ably supported by fellow paceman Nuwan Pradeep (3-28).
Left-arm wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan took wickets before Pradeep wiped off the Zimbabwe tail including the prized wicket of skipper Graeme Cremer for 34.
Opener Hamilton Masakadza (20) and Solomon Mire (21) failed to convert their starts into big scores while Craig Ervine batting at number 3 could only manage two runs.
Malcolm Waller chipped in with 24 before he was caught wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella off Lakshan Sandakan.
Sri Lanka’s chase was straight forward after opener Kusal Perera perished just one run short of his 10th ODI half century when he caught by Ryan Murray off the bowling of Blessing Murabani.
Kusal Mendis chipped in with 36 while Dinesh Chandimal and Thisara Perera finished unbeaten on 38 and 39 respectively.
Muzarabani finished was the pick of the Zimbabwe bowlers after finishing with figures of 3-52 from his 10 overs.
Cremer said Zimbabwe’s downfall was the failure by the top order to get any decent scores on the board which put pressure on the rest of the line up.
“Yeah, the wicket looked exactly the same, but played a lot different. We were probably 30-odd runs off which made the difference,” Cremer said after the match.
“We need the top-four to click. Brendan played well but it's a pity he got out when he did. It's all about batting till the 45th over and letting the rest of the guys bat around him. It is a tough wicket to bat on.
“The seamers were good today, maybe a little bit off the length. But the way Chandi (Chandimal) batted today, he just took the game away from us. The next game against Bangladesh is crucial and we'll come out with intent for that one.”
Perera, who was awarded the man of the match accolade for his performance, was pleased that his side was able to win after two earlier defeats in this tournament.
“First of all, really proud of my all-round performance. The bowlers did really well on this wicket including me,” he said.
“This is a relay baton and we need to bowl well from both ends. Pradeep had an injury too, but he battled through it. I am a hard-hitting batsman, that's my natural game, and without that I cannot survive in international cricket.”
Sri Lanka captain Chandimal was also pleased with the victory.
“Really happy about the game. The bowlers did their job really well. We had a few good partnerships and Thisara batted well in the end,” he said.
“Once you get a start in the top-four, you need to bat long. As a batting unit, we mustn't put pressure on the lower-order. We have a few days to prepare for the next game.
“Zimbabwe have done well against us in the past but we need to play to our strengths and our capabilities and hopefully we can carry on from here.”