Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe 5th ODI: Raza, Masakadza seal historic series win for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe are ecstatic after winning the series 3-2

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

History was made when Zimbabwe defeated Sri Lanka by three wickets in the fifth ODI in Hambantota on Monday.

All-rounder Sikandar Raza took three wickets in the midst of a highly economical spell and scored an unbeaten 27, while opener Hamilton Masakadza made a vital 73.

For Zimbabwe, their 3-2 series win over Sri Lanka marked the first time since 2009 that they have won a bilateral ODI series away from home.

Furthermore, Zimbabwe’s last bilateral ODI series win away from home over a Full Member nation came all the way back in 2001 when they beat Bangladesh.

Opting to bowl first, Zimbabwe were all over Sri Lanka from the get-go as Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis and Upul Tharanga were dismissed in quick succession thanks to Tendai Chatara and Raza.

Sri Lanka began to rebuild their innings after the three quick strikes, but their progress was halted when captain Angelo Mathews was sent packing by Zimbabwe skipper Graeme Cremer for 24.

Danushka Gunathilaka, who opened the batting alongside Dickwella, managed to score 52 off 86 balls, which included five boundaries, before he was trapped lbw off the bowling of Sean Williams.

With Raza having removed Mendis and Tharanga earlier on, he returned to take out Wanidu Hasaranga for a duck.

Raza finished with figures of 3-21 off 10 overs before going on to make an unbeaten 27

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Nuwan Kulasekara and Akila Dananjaya fell shortly after, but Sri Lanka managed to finish on 203/8 off their 50 overs thanks to an unbeaten 50-run partnership between Asela Gunaratne and Dushmantha Chameera.

Gunaratne made 59 off 81 balls, which included four boundaries, while Chameera remained undefeated on 19 off 31 deliveries, which included a solitary boundary.

Raza was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Cremer snapped up two, and Chatara, Williams and Malcolm Waller chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing 204 to win, Zimbabwe got off to a brilliant start as Masakadza and Solomon Mire amassed a 92-run partnership before Mire was clean bowled by Gunratne for 43.

Masakadza went on to make 73 off 86 balls, which included nine boundaries and a six, before he was dismissed by Lasith Malinga.

Masakadza scored his 31st ODI fifty

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Zimbabwe began to collapse after Masakadza’s dismissal, thanks to Dananjaya, as they went from 137/2 to 175/7. Despite this, Raza and Cremer worked in tandem and got their side across the finish line with 71 balls to spare.

Raza finished on 27 off 27 balls, which included a boundary and two sixes, while Cremer made 11.

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

Mathews was gutted to have lost, and said: “We’ve been outplayed in all departments. Credit to Zimbabwe, they gave us a really tough time and we didn’t have any answers. Even though conditions were tough to bat on, 200 was way below what we expected.

“They have a good batting line-up so 203 was not enough. All the bowlers bowled pretty well, but 203 wasn’t enough. The way the openers batted right throughout – unfortunately they couldn’t do it today.”

Cremer was over the moon to have won the series, and said: “It was a bit…I don’t know how to put it. It was pressure, but we needed just one small partnership to get over the line. Happy that Sikandar came to the party. It turned around very quickly but happy we pulled it off in the end.

“We knew they were expecting seam on both ends. Raza is a definite weapon with the new ball. I was hoping for a breakthrough or two and he gave us that in the Powerplay. I usually always call heads, decided to change today and it worked out well. This win is very special, fans must be jumping around back home. We knew we’re playing good enough cricket to put them under pressure.”

Raza was named Man of the Match, and said: “To win the series with the bunch of boys we’ve had, I can’t be happier. Skipper asked me in the morning and I said I’d like to bowl the first over. He trusted me and it paid off. I’m so happy it worked out for the team.”

Masakadza was named Man of the Series.

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