Sri Lanka were left reeling after a blistering Zimbabwe bowling effort early in their innings before an enterprising fifty from Dinura Kalupahana helped them cross 200, then eventually winning by 39 runs on the DLS Method in Kimberly on Sunday.

Zimbabwe skipper Matthew Schonken elected to bowl first after winning the toss and opening pacers Kohl Eksteen and Anesu Kamuriwo were red-hot in their opening spell, taking three Sri Lanka wickets in the first five overs. Among the victims was the important scalp of Sri Lanka skipper Sineth Jayawardena, who offered an edge to a seaming delivery from the impressive Eksteen.

Ravishan De Silva and Rusanda Gamage then set about reconstructing the innings on a tough wicket, with the Chevrons asserting control over the proceedings with tight bowling and sharp fielding.

The pressure finally got to the pair and the 52-run stand was finally broken in the 26th over when Gamage had his middle stump uprooted by Panashe Taruvinga. Ravinshan fell soon after and Sri Lanka found themselves on the back foot once more.

Dinura Kalpuhana and Sharujan Shanmuganathan then lifted the pace with some attacking cricket. Kalpuhana (60 off 55) hit eight boundaries including two sixes to help Sri Lanka fight back before he fell to Schonken offering a catch in the deep. Despite Shanmuganathan’s best attempts, a last push from Sri Lanka stalled, and the side were bowled out for 204.

The young Chevrons faced the same difficulties early in their batting innings as Sri Lanka’s spinners got into the action early. Vishwa Lahiru was tidy and effective, conceding just three runs in his four overs, while also providing the opening breakthrough. The talented Malsha Tharupathi backed up his spin partner soon after, cleaning up Nathaniel Hlabangana for 10.

Tharupathi then also contributed with a stunning catch to get rid of Panashe Tharuvinga off Kalupuhana to take an important third wicket as rain forced players off the pitch for a lengthy spell.

The game resumed with Zimbabwe chasing a revised target of 129. As expected, the young Chevrons came out with all guns blazing. Despite early signs of a close finish, Sri Lanka continued to chip away at the batting attack, taking regular wickets with clever changes of pace and assured catching.

Tharupathi and Lahiru struck to leave Zimbabwe at 59/6 and though Schonken took the attack to Sri Lanka with some lusty blows, the lack of support from the other end hurt Zimbabwe.

As the batters tried to go for the increasingly distant target, Sri Lanka managed to run through the tail with their disciplined work in the field. Zimbabwe were bowled out 39 runs short in the 22nd over.

After the game, Sri Lanka skipper Jayawardena discussed his team’s fightback.

“The wicket had uneven bounce for the fast bowlers in the morning. After that, the top three batters got out. Then Ravishan and Gamage gave us some momentum and Dinura and Sharujan did the same to put on a good score for us.”

Source: ICC Media


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here