Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe 1st ODI: Mire’s career-best knock leads Zimbabwe to historic win

Mire is all smiles after bringing up his maiden ODI hundred

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Solomon Mire struck a career-best 112 as Zimbabwe stunned Sri Lanka by six wickets in the first ODI in Galle.

For Zimababwe, their victory was made all the more sweeter since it was the first time they had beaten Sri Lanka in their backyard.

In addition to this, Zimbabwe, who were set a target of 317 to win, also broke the record for the highest run-chase in an ODI in Sri Lanka.

Electing to bat first, Sri Lanka lost opener Niroshan Dickwella early on for 10 runs, but Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis made up for it with a 117-run partnership, during which both batsmen surpassed their half-centuries.

With Sri Lanka in firm control, Zimbabwe were in desperate need of a wicket, and it was Sean Williams who delivered it as he removed Gunathilaka for 60, which came off 77 balls and included five boundaries and a six.

Mendis went on to make 86 off 80 deliveries, which included eight boundaries and a six, before he was caught and bowled by Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer.

Mendis became the joint second-fastest Sri Lankan to score 1,000 ODI runs

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews and Upul Tharanga stabilised the innings with a 74-run partnership before Mathews was clean bowled by Solomon Mire for a 30-ball 43.

Tharanga and Asela Gunaratne kept the scoreboard ticking with a 56-run stand, during which Tharanga sailed past his fifty, before Gunaratne was dismissed by Tendai Chatara for 28.

Tharanga ended up making 79 off 73 balls, which included eight boundaries and a six, as Sri Lanka finished on 316/5 off their 50 overs.

Chatara was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Williams, Cremer and Mire chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing 317 to win, Zimbabwe got off to a disastrous start as opening batsman Hamilton Masakadza was caught behind off the bowling of Lasith Malinga for five runs in the third over.

Just as Zimbabwe were recovering, Craig Ervine fell to Akila Dananjaya for 18.

However, the tourists turned the tables on Sri Lanka as Mire and Williams put together a magnificent 161-run partnership, during which Mire brought up his hundred and Williams his fifty.

Williams scored his 26th ODI fifty

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

With Zimbabwe back in contention, Gunaratne provided the crucial breakthrough Sri Lanka needed as he sent Mire packing for 112, which came off 96 balls and included 14 boundaries.

Williams went on to score 65 off 69 balls, which included seven boundaries, before he was clean bowled by Gunaratne.

That was to be Sri Lanka’s last taste of success though as Sikandar Raza and Malcolm Waller finished things off with an unbeaten 102-run stand, during which Raza registered his half-century.

Raza ended up finishing on 67 off 56 balls, which included seven boundaries and a six, while Waller remained undefeated on 40 off 29 deliveries, which included four boundaries.

Gunaratne was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Malinga and Dananjaya claimed one wicket each.

Mathews was gutted to have lost the match, and said: “Having 315 on the board, I thought it was enough. Our bowling was poor and our fielding was pathetic. It was a good batting effort by them. The wicket was playing a little slower. I thought we had the bowling to defend this.”

Cremer was over the moon to have won, and said: “Very special! To chase down a score like that to post our first win here was amazing. For our batting to chase the total down, special. Mire is a real asset to the team, not just with the bat but also with the ball. He’s lovely to watch. We just want to take it one game at a time. We can hopefully carry this confidence forward.”

Mire was named Man of the Match.

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