Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe 3rd ODI: Gunathilaka, Dickwella trounce Zimbabwe

Gunathilaka raises his bat after bringing up his maiden ODI century

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Sri Lanka openers Danushka Gunathilaka and Niroshan Dickwella scored 116 and 102 respectively to lead their side to a convincing eight-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the third ODI in Hambantota.

Opting to bowl first, Sri Lanka got rid of Zimbabwe opener Solomon Mire for 13, but Hamilton Masakadza and Tarisai Musakanda made up for it with a 127-run partnership, the majority of which was dominated by Masakadza as he brought up his hundred.

Musakanda ended up making 48 before he was dismissed by Asela Gunaratne.

Masakadza, meanwhile, went on to score 111 off 98 balls, which included 15 boundaries and a six, before he was removed by Wanidu Hasaranga.

Masakadza’s fifth ODI century went in vain

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Craig Ervine fell shortly after, but Sean Williams and Malcolm stabilised the innings with a 50-run stand before Williams was clean bowled by Gunaratne for 43.

With Sikandar Raza and wicketkeeper Peter Moor making a quickfire 25 and 24 respectively, Zimbabwe finished on 310/8 off their 50 overs.

Gunaratne and Hasaranga picked up two wickets apiece, while Nuwan Pradeep, Lasith Malinga and Lakshan Sandakan chipped in with one wicket each.

Chasing 311 to win, Sri Lanka got off to a spectacular start as Gunathilaka and Dickwella put together a 229-run partnership, during which both batsmen surpassed their maiden ODI hundreds.

Dickwella celebrates after scoring his maiden ODI hundred

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

With Sri Lanka cruising to victory, Zimbabwe tried to do everything in their power to break the partnership, but it wasn’t until the 37th over that they accomplished the feat when Dickwella was dismissed by Waller for a career-best 102, which came off 116 balls and included 14 boundaries.

Gunathilaka went on to make a career-best 116, which came off 111 deliveries and included 15 boundaries and a six, before he was cleaned up by Williams.

Despite losing Dickwella and Gunathilaka in quick succession, Upul Tharanga and Kusal Mendis finished things off for Sri Lanka with an unbeaten 75-run partnership.

Tharanga concluded the match on 44 off 32 balls, which included three boundaries and two sixes, while Mendis remained undefeated on 28 off 25 deliveries, which included two boundaries.

Waller and Williams claimed one wicket each.

Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer was disappointed to lose the match, and said: “I thought we had enough runs on the board.¬†We might have slowed down between 30 to 40, but we picked it up after that. It was a good wicket, and the openers did take the game away from us.

“Didn’t help that we dropped a few chances. Didn’t start well with the ball either. We need to get runs on the board batting first, but 310 was enough, we just need to get better [in] the field. Our bowling was probably under par as well.”

Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews was thrilled to have taken a 2-1 series lead, and said: “It was a fantastic effort by the boys. After losing the first game, we had our backs against the wall and we came back well. Hamilton played brilliantly, credit to him, but we came back very well to keep them to 310.

“Danushka and Dickwella batted brilliantly and after they got out, Upul took us home. We can’t thank him enough, he’s been up and down the order for many years. Here he gave his place to the others to open and he is still scoring runs.”

Gunathilaka was named Man of the Match, and said: “I just played my normal game. Credit goes to Dickwella, he played a brilliant knock. It was a great wicket to bat and we knew if we played our natural game, we could get it easily. Credit goes to the bowlers, it was a hard wicket to bowl [on]. They did really well.”

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