Zimbabwe sealed a thrilling 12-run win against Sri Lanka in their tri-nation ODI series match at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka Wednesday.
The loss means newly-appointed Sri Lanka head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, the former coach of Bangladesh, started his tenure with defeat.
The match was historic for Bangladesh cricket as Mirpur’s SBNCS hosted its 100th ODI. This is the sixth venue in history that hosted 100 or more ODIs.
Chasing a challenging 291-run target, Sri Lanka started positively as opener Kusal Perera began his innings in aggressive fashion. The Lankans though lost the other opener Upul Tharanga (11) and No 3 batsman Kusal Mendis (nought) early but Perera continued scoring quick runs at the other end.
Perera scored 80 off 83 balls with eight fours and two sixes before being brilliantly caught by short fine leg fielder Blessing Muzarabani in the 25th over. All-rounder Sikandar Raza took the important wicket of Perera.
Captain Angelo Mathews (42) and wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Chandimal (34) scored some runs in the middle but the asking run rate was getting high for the Lankans. They were in trouble after Chandimal was dismissed in the 34th over.
Thisara Perera then played a brilliant knock for Sri Lanka and almost guided them home in the late stages. But seamer Tendai Chatara accounted for the wicket of Thisara in the fourth ball of 47th over, and eventually Sri Lanka fell 12 short in their stipulated 50 overs.
Thisara tried to clear the boundary from a high Chatara full toss only to be caught by Raza near the boundary. Perera’s 67 off 37 balls innings was composed with five boundaries and three sixers.
Chatara took four wickets conceding 33 runs.
Earlier, Lankan captain Mathews elected to field first.
Zimbabwe openers Solomon Mire and Hamilton Masakadza formed a good partnership as they put on 75 for the first wicket within 13 overs. Mire was the first batsman who got out after scoring 34 of 37 deliveries.
Zimbabwe lost another wicket quickly as No 3 batsman Craig Ervine only managed to score two. But Masakadza was playing well at the other end. The experienced top-order batsman made 73 off 83 balls with 10 fours before being dismissed by all-rounder Asela Gunaratne in the 28th over.
The veteran Brendan Taylor (38 off 51) also scored some runs in the middle but was not able to extend his innings.
The in-form Raza continued his good form with the willow, scoring a valiant 81 off just 67 balls during the late stage of the innings to help Zimbabwe post a challenging 290 for the loss of six wickets in their allotted 50 overs. Raza struck eight boundaries and one over boundary during his brilliant knock.
Gunaratne was the best Lankan bowler on display as he picked up three wickets giving away 37 runs while Thisara took two.
Raza was adjudged man of the match for his brilliant innings.
Sri Lanka will face host Bangladesh in their next match Friday at the same venue.
278 in 48.1 overs (Kusal 80, Chatara 4/33) lost to Zimbabwe
290/6 (Raza 81*, Masakadza 73) by 12 runs