Sri Lanka struck form when it mattered as they defeated Zimbabwe by a nine-wicket margin to register their first victory in the Zimbabwe Triangular Series.
Sri Lanka, who were defeated by India, bowled out the hosts for a meagre 118 runs due to superb bowling performance after rain reduced the match to 26 overs a side. Captain Tillakaratne Dilshan blazed away for his 60 off just 45 balls as Sri Lanka overhauled the target in only the 16th over.
The margin earned Sri Lanka a bonus point as well. And Dilshan was pleased with the team’s performance.
“I am very happy,” said Dilshan. “We got the bonus point, it is a huge advantage. After the first innings, I was keen to find how many overs for the bonus point, and after six to seven overs I said let’s go for it, it is easy to get there in 20 overs,” said Dilshan.
Sri Lanka owed their win to their bowlers though. No Zimbabwean batsman managed more than 11 runs except Hamilton Masakadza at the top of the order. The opener scored 62 off 69 deliveries as he saw his partners come and go at the other end. The highest partnership was 36 for the third wicket as Suraj Randiv made the most of his chance to play for Sri Lanka in the absence of star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. He finished with an impressive three for 23, a performance enough to earn him his first man-of-the-match award in his 11th One-Day International.
Zimbabwean captain Elton Chigumbura was disappointed.
“We did not play well, hopefully we will bounce back,” said Chigumbura. “I thought 180 was going to be competitive, but it was difficult to get there after losing those wickets.”
Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and India now have one win each from two matches. The hosts now play India on June 3 for the second round of the group stage.
Published in the Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2010.
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