Report by Champika Fernando
Solomon Mire (112) struck his maiden century and Sean Williams (65) and Sikandar Raza(67 not out) hit half-centuries as Zimbabwe beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in a record run-chase in the first ODI in Galle yesterday. Zimbabwe made 322 for four with 14 balls to spare in reply to Sri Lanka’s 316 for 5.
Sri Lanka, currently the eighth-ranked one-day international side, are playing five limited over games against 11th -ranked Zimbabweans and the defeat comes as a rude shock for the depleted Sri Lankans looking for a turnaround of fortunes.
The pair added a match-winning 161 off 133 balls for the third wicket after Sri Lanka picked up two top-order wickets for 46 runs to lead them to a comfortable victory. However Sri Lanka will rue miss opportunities as they dropped at least three catches during the match. Mire was initially dropped on 17 by wicketekeeper Niroshan Dickwella, who failed to hold a tough chance off the bowling of Amila Aponso and was dropped again on 94 by Lasith who dropped a straightforward catch. Danushka Gunathilaka also dropped Sean Williams.
Asela Gunaratne struck twice removing both Mire and Williams in quick succession but it was too late for a comeback as Zimbabwe had the perfect platform to record a win. Mire offered a simple return catch while Williams had his stumps rattled by Gunaratne as Zimbabwe lost their fourth wicket with 97 runs still needing to win. However, Sikandar Raza and Malcolm Waller cashed in adding an unbeaten 102 runs for the fifth wicket to lead them home with –balls to spare. Waller was unbeaten on 40 off 29 balls while Raza made spared only 56 balls to his quick-fire 67.
"Poor performance by the bowlers and fielding once again let us down.We dropped crucial catches at crucial moments. Can't say that enough. We have trained extremely hard on fielding, but it's just that in critical occasions we keep dropping catches, which costs us the game," Mathews said after the match.
Kusal Mendis (86), Danushka Gunathilaka (60) and Upul Tharanga (79) hit half-centuries as Sri Lanka scored a formidable 316 for 5 in their innings.
Sri Lanka lost opener Niroshan Dickwella (10) cheaply but Mendis and Gunathilaka shared an impressive 117 runs for the second wicket to help Sri Lanka’s cause for an imposing total on a good batting track. Skipper Angelo Mathews made a brisk 43 off 30-balls and shared a vital 74 runs for the 4th wicket with Tharanga who remained unbeaten on 78 off 71 deliveries.
Along the way, Tharanga reached the 6000-run mark while young Mendis also passed career 1000 runs. Tendai Chetara was the pick of the Zimbabwean bowler claiming two for 42.
Sri Lanka brought in off-spinner Akila Dananjaya and leg-spinner Amila Aponso into the playing XI while visitors made a solitary change of replacing Chris Mpofu with right arm seamer Donald Tiripano.
Sri Lanka Innings
Niroshan Dickwella c Burl b Chatara 10
Danushka Gunathilaka c Ervine b Williams 60
Kusal Mendis c&b Cremer 86
Upul Tharanga not out 79
Angelo Mathews b Mire 43
Asela Gunaratne c Waller b Chatara 28
Lahiru Madushanka not out 1
Extras (b-1 lb-2 w-6) 9
Total (for 5 wickets, 50 overs) 316
Fall of wickets: 1-16 N. Dickwella,2-133 D. Gunathilaka,3-180 K. Mendis,4-254 A. Mathews,5-310 A. Gunaratne
Did not bat: L. Malinga, N. Pradeep, A. Aponso, A. Dananjaya
T. Chatara 9 - 1 - 49 - 2(w-1)
D. Tiripano 6 - 0 - 45 - 0
S. Williams 9 - 0 - 57 - 1
G. Cremer 10 - 0 - 57 - 1
S. Mire 7 - 0 - 47 - 1(w-2)
S. Raza 9 - 0 - 58 - 0(w-2)
H. Masakadza c Dickwella b Malinga 5
S. Mire c&b Gunaratne 112
C. Ervine c Tharanga b Dananjaya 18
S. Williams b Gunaratne 65
S. Raza not out 67
M. Waller not out 40
Extras (lb-5 nb-1 w-9) 15
Total (for 4 wickets, 47.4 overs) 322
Fall of wickets: 1-12 H. Masakadza,2-46 C. Ervine,3-207 S. Mire,4-220 S. Williams
Did not bat: P. Moor, R. Burl, G. Cremer, D. Tiripano, T. Chatara
Lasith Malinga 9 - 0 - 51 - 1(nb-1 w-3)
Nuwan Pradeep 9 - 1 - 52 - 0
Akila Dananjaya 10 - 0 - 61 - 1(w-1)
Amila Aponso 8.4 - 0 - 77 - 0(w-3)
Danushka Gunathilaka 2 - 0 - 13 - 0(w-1)
Lahiru Madushanka 2 - 0 - 18 - 0(w-1)
Asela Gunaratne 7 - 0 - 45 - 2
Umpire: Ian Gould
Umpire: Ruchira Palliyaguruge
TV umpire: Nigel Llong
Match referee: Chris Broad
Result: Zimbabwe won by 6 wickets
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