Zimbabwe suffer huge defeat in Sri Lanka series decider

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Zimbabwe suffered a huge defeat in the final ODI against Sri Lanka to concede the series in Pallekele on Friday (January 21). Having posted 296 and 302 in the opening two ODIs, Zimbabwe crumbled in the final game in a run chase of 255 to get bowled out for just 70.

Zimbabwe would have backed themselves to get the job done once they restricted Sri Lanka to 254/9 in the decider. However, the visitors were rocked very early this time as they lost Regis Chakabva in just the third over of the chase. Craig Ervine, centurion in the previous game, was out first ball as he edged behind. 3/2 quickly became 20/3 when Sean Williams lost his stumps to Maheesh Theekshana. Jeffrey Vandersay, who had already troubled Zimbabwe earlier in the series, got into the act by getting rid of Takudzwanashe Kaitano.

The visitors’ last hope Sikandar Raza was the next to depart as their best player of spin hit one tamely to short cover. At 31/5, the chase was pretty much done and dusted. The lower order just prolonged the inevitable for a while before eventually folding for 70 in the 25th over as Zimbabwe conceded a series that appeared to be there for the taking at one point.

Earlier in the day, the Sri Lankan openers gave the side a very good start by putting on 80. The Zimbabwean spinners built some pressure and managed to break the stand. The hosts then received a blow immediately when half-centurion Pathum Nissanka followed Kusal Mendis back to the pavilion. With Dinesh Chandimal and Dasun Shanaka also failing to make an impact, the onus was on Charith Asalanka to bail his side out of trouble.

Asalanka did exactly that and chipped in with a vital half-century but his dismissal with a little over nine overs to spare ended Sri Lanka’s hopes of putting up a mammoth score on the board. Chamika Karunaratne and Ramesh Mendis made handy contributions with the bat in the slog overs to guide Sri Lanka past 250, which was more than enough for the island nation to romp home with a win in the end.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 254/9 in 50 overs (Pathum Nissanka 55, Charith Asalanka 52; Richard Ngarava 2-46, Ryan Burl 1-26) beat Zimbabwe 70 in 24.4 overs (Jeffrey Vandersay 4-10, Dushmantha Chameera 2-20) by 184 runs.