Sri Lanka Crush Zimbabwe in Tri-Series Final

November 28 14:34 2016

sriNew Delhi, Monday, November 28 – Sri Lanka and West Indies cricket team were on tour of Zimbabwe to play the tri-series, which concluded a day ago at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo. In front of heavyweights, chances of Zimbabwe to enter in the finals seemed low.  But uncertainty of the game made viewers see Sri Lanka and the hosts in the grand finale.

In view of the fact that the two nations had points more than West Indies, the fight for trophy turned interesting. With two victories, a defeat and no result in one match, Sri Lanka earned 11 points. Being the table toppers, they heaved a sigh of relief. Zimbabwe held no. two spot with eight points. West Indies could only get seven points, which ended all possibility of qualifying for the final show. The journey of three teams in the tri-series began from November 14 and came to an end on November 27 after Sri Lanka defeated Zimbabwe in the finals.

Zimbabwe won the toss and decided to bat first. The home squad included Hamilton Masakadza, Sikandar Raza, Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams, Craig Ervine, Tarisai Musakanda, Peter Moor, Graeme Cremer – the captain, Tendai Chisoro, Brian Vitori and Donald Tiripano. Those to sit on bench were Tinashe Panyangara, Carl Mumba, Elton Chigumbura, Chamu Chibhabha, Brian Chari and Chris Mpofu. Sri Lanka Playing XI, on the other hand, included skipper Upul Tharanga, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Sachith Pathirana, Nuwan Kulasekara, Jeffrey Vandersay, Suranga Lakmal and Asela Gunaratne. At the same time, Lakshan Sandakan, Shehan Jayasuriya, Nuwan Pradeep and Lahiru Kumara were in extra.

While contesting in the last match, both sides wanted to excel in all departments. The players of Sri Lanka tried to give their best and let their opponents succumb under pressure despite losing the toss and getting invitation to bowl first. Peter Moor – the wicket-keeper – was dismissed by Lakmal on a single. Hamilton Masakadza was lbw by Kulasekara at a score of 10 (4 x 2). Tarisai Musakanda lost his wicket to Jeffrey Vandersay at a score of 36. His innings included three 4s and a biggie. Craig Ervine was caught & bowled by Jeffrey Vandersay while batting at 25 runs (4 x 3). Sikandar Raza was lbw by Sachith Pathirana at 5 runs, together with a four.

Sean Williams played with least risk as he focused more on getting singles and twos instead of going with boundaries and sixes. This can be understood from the fact that his knock of 35 runs in 54 balls only comprised a four. Asela Gunaratne got his wicket. Malcolm Waller was out thanks to excellent effort by Sachith Pathirana soon after delivering a ball. He scored 14 runs (4 x 2). Graeme Cremer lost his wicket to Jeffrey Vandersay at 9 runs. Asela Gunaratne  got wickets of Tendai Chisoro at 5 runs and Brian Vitori on a duck. Donald Tiripano was not out at 10 runs. A score of 160 runs was not at all sufficient to stop Sri Lanka from winnings.

The home side could only bat for 36.3 overs. Had they batted for the entire overs, considerable runs would have been in their pocket. But that did not happen that almost took away chance of defending the small target. 10 extra runs were given by Sri Lanka bowling lineup. Gunaratne and Vandersay took three wickets each, while Pathirana got a couple of wickets. Nuwan Kulasekara and Suranga Lakmal got one wicket each. Shanaka did not get any of it. Zimbabwe scored 43 runs in mandatory powerplay. When Sri Lanka came to attain the target, Dasun Shanaka, Sachith Pathirana, Kulasekara, Jeffrey Vandersay and Lakmal did not need to bat as the job was already done by the top and middle order batsmen.

Post receiving early jolt in the form of Dhananjaya de Silva, who was lbw by Vitori on a naught, Sri Lanka innings was slightly stabilized. However, Kusal Perera was out by Vitori at a score of 14 (4 x 2) and Niroshan Dickwella also by the same man at 16 runs, which comprised two boundaries. Kusal Mendis and Upul Tharanga played their knocks that ensured success of their team. Cremer dismissed Mendis at 57 runs (4 x 10 0). Upul Tharanga was not out at the same score. His innings comprised six fours and a biggie. Asela Gunaratne was not out at 16 runs. Not to forget that Sri Lanka scored 166 runs in 37.3 overs, snatching away the chance of winning from Zimbabwe, who did not succeed to capitalize the home conditions and crowd support. Player of the Match and Player of the Series awards went into the pocket of Kusal Mendis.

The latest series win of Sri Lanka puts emphasis on the point that good team efforts make the squad taste success. Thumping victory of the visiting team on Zimbabwe unquestionably have boosted confidence of the Sri Lankan cricketers, who must be looking forward to a great show in the upcoming series as well. Eyes can’t be closed to the fact that success at any stage keeps morale up. It must be a good learning experience for Zimbabwe as well. This could be the time when improvement can be done in all the departments of this unpredictable sport. Here is to describe that even a blunder cost match to a few teams in the past. In place of making any mistake, it is far better for players to opt for learning approach, which will help them shine better in future.

Winning a match through implementation of some workable tactics and plans helps the teams gain focus on the points that allow them to earn grip in the contest. Giving room to the opponents at any stage can do the damage for one of the teams. More than a few players in Sri Lanka team are new and young. Experience is to be gained by them that will be useful in the long run. As a matter of fact, if opportunity is well utilized then it can give many players a chance to hone cricketing skills and be a threat for the rivals. Same is applicable for Zimbabwe as well. Bowling by Sri Lankan players has always been interesting. A victory is alone adequate to give players courage and confidence of making impossible things possible.

Since the action in tri-series ended recently, viewers are ready for a big dose of entertainment in the coming weeks. Sri Lanka are to take a tour of South Africa late next month. Support for Proteas is going to be massive as they being the host. However, the tourists will try to keep self-belief up, do the right stuffs on the dot and not commit mistakes post landing on the foreign soil. Undoubtedly, Sri Lanka wish to adapt the unfamiliar conditions as early as possible so that starting the Test series on a positive note can turn easy and provide them the lead. Their stint is going to be long as three Test, three T20 matches and five One Day International matches are to take place. As of now, Sri Lanka look forward for some rest to gain momentum and energy for upcoming contests.

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