Published : 9:01 am  July 11, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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Sri Lanka Cricket hits new low

Suffers an unprecedented series defeat


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By M. Shamil Amit reporting from Hambantota

Sri Lanka suffered a humiliating unprecedented series defeat (2-3) on home soil against the 11th ranked Zimbabwe, suffering a three-wicket defeat in the fifth and final ODI played at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium in Hambantota yesterday 
Zimbabwe at one stage were well placed with the score at 152 for three in the 29th over. 
But they experienced a minor setback when they lost four quick wickets and collapsed to 175 for seven.
However, Sikandar Raza and Skipper Graeme Cremer saw them through with an unbroken 29-run partnership for the eighth wicket as Zimbabwe reached their target in the 39th over.
In fact, Zimbabwe won a limited over series against a Test playing nation after a lapse of 14 years having last won against Bangladesh in 2002.
The foundation for Zimbabwe’s win was laid by their openers Hamilton Masakadza and Solomon Mire. 
The pair were bit uneasy in the early stages but they settled down to script a quickfire match winning stand of 92 runs in only 86 balls. Mire cracked a 32-ball 43 that included five boundaries and two sixes.


Sloppy fielding

The sloppy fielding by the home side in the early stages of the game made it much more easier for the visitors. 
Masakadza who played with a lot of  confidence made a contribution of 73 in 86 balls which had nine hits to the ropes and one over it and he also provided the confidence for the rest of the batting that paved the way for Zimbabwe’s series win.

Earlier, Sri Lanka lost eight wickets for 153 in the 42nd over and their chances of reaching the 200-run mark looked bleak.



Earlier, I was hoping for a breakthrough which Raza provided us during the powerplay. This win was very special and fortunately everything worked out well for us


But Asela Gunaratne along with Dushmantha Chameera denied the Zimbabwe bowlers further success as the pair were associated in an unbroken 50-run stand for the ninth wicket to help the home side to end with a respectable score of 203.

Major honours should go to Gunaratne as he led Sri Lanka’s recovery in the latter stages though Dhanushka Gunatileke stood out in the early stages.

Skipper Angelo Mathews losing the toss was crucial as the Zimbabwe bowlers made a vital breakthrough in the second ball of the second over.

The in-form batsman Niroshan Dickwella was able to make just three runs.

From there on, the Sri Lanka batsmen struggled as they were made to dig for their runs and ten runs later right-arm spinner Sikandar Raza who opened the attack got rid of Kusal Mendis with the score at 13.

Upul Tharanga who followed lasted only nine balls making six runs as he became Raza’s second victim. 


Steady progress

Skipper Mathews joined Gunathilaka and they made steady progress before their 47-run partnership for the fourth wicket came to an end with the dismissal of Mathews which saw the home side in a spot of bother at 78 for four in the 21st over.

Gunathilaka added 41 runs for the fifth wicket with Asela Gunaratne before being dismissed by Sean Williams.

This was followed by the wickets of Wanidu Hasaranga and Nuwan Kulasekera with the two wickets falling for the addition of only seven runs as Sri Lanka fell into deeper trouble with the score on 126 for seven in the 35th over.

A brief partnership of 27 runs for the eighth wicket between Gunaratne and Akila Dhananjaya came to an end with Sri Lanka wobbling at 153 for eight in the 42nd over.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Skipper Graeme Cremer said: “In our run-chase we needed just one good partnership which Masakadza and Mire provided.

“Earlier, I was hoping for a breakthrough which Raza provided us during the powerplay. This win was very special and fortunately everything worked out well for us.”Sri Lanka 

Pix by Pradeep Dilrukshana