The nail-biting 2nd one-dayer in Zimbabwe’s Tour of Sri Lanka 2022 came to a close with the visitors coming out victorious by 22 runs to level the series.
In the fifth over of the Zimbabwe innings, Regis Chakabva deposited a Nuwan Pradeep delivery to the grass banks over mid-wicket with ease. Pradeep dropped it in the border of the good length and Chakabva rocked back in a flash, picked it on the rise and allowed that fluid hand-flow to do the rest of the job. This hit was more than just the first six of the Zimbabwe innings – it was a measure of the surface, a measure of Chakabva’s form, a measure of Zimbabwe’s confidence and a measure of the kind of a game we were in for today.
The track was a belter to bat on and the visitors were looking positive. They got 14 runs in the first over, and since then never allowed that run-rate to sink below 5 runs an over. This time, it was Craig Ervine who led the batting, while Sean Williams and Chakabva played second fiddle.
Jefferey Vandersay was the chief wicket-taker for Sri Lanka with 3 wickets to his name. The leg-spinner looked much better than in the first ODI, but lacked consistency.
He created 3 chances in his first 4 overs – 2 were converted – and gave away only 1 four. He gave at least 1 boundary in 4 out of his next 5 overs, picking up only 1 wicket. His good balls were too good to play, but those featured only in about 50% of his bowling.
The Zimbabwean innings was defined by a 106-run partnership between Ervine and Williams for the 3rd wicket, taking them carefully through the middle overs of the match.
Skipper Ervine, the major contributor, was flawless off his hips and was a confident employer of the sweep shot, both conventional and reverse. The trustworthy bounce of the surface granted him easy access to the region behind square of the wicket in the leg side and the extra-cover boundary on the off. He punished anything that had width and sensibly constructed his innings, keeping the pressure off his team.
Williams’ form was eminent in the way he batted for his vital 48 runs, while Chakabva too took off from where he left off in the last game, scoring a well-controlled 47 runs.
Zimbabwe set themselves up quite well for a target of over 300 runs and the task of taking them there lay on Sikandar Raza – He did an amazing job with it.
Raza walked in on 205 for 4 in the 36th over and scored an enterprising 56 runs off 46 deliveries, with 4 fours and a massive six over long-on to ensure his team got to the magical 300-run mark.
With a steep 302-run target to chase down, the hosts got off to an inept start losing 3 early wickets in the span of 12 runs. They were cut down to 34 for 3 at the end of the first power play.
A determined 118-run partnership between number 3 batter Kamindu Mendis and Skipper Dasun Shanaka put Sri Lanka back in the game.
Kamindu scored a fighting 57 runs off 82 deliveries, giving a good hand to his Skipper who was putting together his best knock in ODI Cricket thus far.
The 6-footer, Blessing Muzarabani, was impressive with the ball for the tourists. The right-arm speedster seamed the ball around quite well and bowled in hard lengths. He returned figures of 3 for 56 in 10 overs.
Sri Lanka needed 91 to get off the last 10 overs with 5 wickets in hand.
This was the knock that announced Dasun Shanaka as a batsman in 50-over Cricket – the right-hander brought up his maiden century in international Cricket in style with a six over midwicket, but sent the next one down long-on’s throat, leaving Sri Lanka in trouble again.
With 55 needed off the last 5 overs, the hosts needed a mature inning from Chamika Karunaratne to win the game, but he ran himself out an over later. That was curtains for the Lankans!
|Takudzwanashe Kaitano||b Jeffery Vandersay||26||28||2||1||92.86|
|Regis Chakabva||st Kusal Mendis b Jeffery Vandersay||47||50||5||0||94.00|
|Craig Ervine||b Maheesh Theekshana||91||98||10||0||92.86|
|Sean Williams||st Kusal Mendis b Jeffery Vandersay||48||56||3||0||85.71|
|Wesly Madhevere||b Chamika Karunaratne||1||7||0||0||14.29|
|Sikandar Raza||c Dimuth Karunaratne b Praveen Jayawickrama||56||46||4||1||121.74|
|Ryan Burl||run out (Chamika Gunasekara)||19||15||2||0||126.67|
|Wellington Masakadza||c Nuwan Pradeep b Dushmantha Chameera||0||1||0||0||0.00|
|Blessing Muzarabani||not out||0||1||0||0||0.00|
|Extras||14 (b 3 , lb 6 , nb 2, w 3, pen 0)|
|Total||302/8 (50 Overs, RR: 6.04)|
|Fall of Wickets||1-59 (9.5) Takudzwanashe Kaitano, 2-90 (15.4) Regis Chakabva, 3-196 (32.6) Sean Williams, 4-205 (35.3) Wesly Madhevere, 5-256 (43.5) Craig Ervine, 6-297 (48.6) Ryan Burl, 7-298 (49.2) Wellington Masakadza, 8-302 (49.6) Sikandar Raza,|
|Pathum Nissanka||c Regis Chakabva b Blessing Muzarabani||16||24||3||0||66.67|
|Kusal Mendis||b Tendai Chatara||7||9||1||0||77.78|
|Kamindu Mendis||c Craig Ervine b Richard Ngarava||57||82||4||0||69.51|
|Dinesh Chandimal||c Sikandar Raza b Brian Mudzinganyama||2||6||0||0||33.33|
|Charith Asalanka||b Wesly Madhevere||23||21||2||1||109.52|
|Dasun Shanaka||c Sikandar Raza b Tendai Chatara||102||94||7||4||108.51|
|Chamika Karunaratne||run out (Sean Williams)||34||38||0||0||89.47|
|Dushmantha Chameera||c Wellington Masakadza b Tendai Chatara||13||12||0||0||108.33|
|Jeffery Vandersay||c Regis Chakabva b Blessing Muzarabani||4||7||0||0||57.14|
|Maheesh Theekshana||not out||4||4||0||0||100.00|
|Nuwan Pradeep||not out||5||2||1||0||250.00|
|Extras||13 (b 0 , lb 5 , nb 1, w 7, pen 0)|
|Total||280/9 (50 Overs, RR: 5.6)|
|Fall of Wickets||1-20 (4.5) Kusal Mendis, 2-25 (5.5) Pathum Nissanka, 3-31 (7.5) Dinesh Chandimal, 4-63 (14.3) Charith Asalanka, 5-181 (34.3) Kamindu Mendis, 6-247 (44.4) Dasun Shanaka, 7-266 (47.1) Chamika Karunaratne, 8-268 (48.1) Dushmantha Chameera, 9-273 (49.2) Jeffery Vandersay,|