HAMBANTOTA, Sri Lanka: Sikandar Raza starred with the bat and ball to help Zimbabwe edge out Sri Lanka by three wickets and clinch a historic series victory in the fifth one-day international on Monday.
Taking the series 3-2 in Hambantota, the 11th-ranked Zimbabwe registered their maiden series win in Sri Lanka and first overseas triumph in eight years.
Off-spinner Raza claimed three wickets to restrict the hosts to 203-8 after Zimbabwe elected to field first. He then anchored a tense chase with an unbeaten 27 as the visitors won with 71 balls to spare.
Zimbabwe opener Hamilton Masakadza top-scored with a fluent 73 before rookie off-spinner Akila Dananjaya struck back with four wickets to rattle the Zimbabwe middle-order.
The visitors slipped from 137-1 to 175-7 — losing six wickets for 38 runs — but Raza and skipper Graeme Cremer (11 not out) hung on for an unbeaten 29-run stand as the perennial underdogs erupted in celebrations.
“Happy that Sikandar came to the party. It turned around very quickly but happy we pulled it off in the end,” an elated Cremer said following their win.
“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,” Cremer said.
Earlier the Pakistan-born Raza, who opened the bowling for the visiting side, returned with impressive figures of 3-21 at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium.
Raza, named man of the match, was complemented by Cremer, who took two wickets with his wily leg-spin, most notably the prized scalp of his opposite number Angelo Mathews (24). — AFP
N Dickwella c Moor b Chatara 3
D Gunathilaka lbw Williams 52
K Mendis c Cremer b Raza 1
U Tharanga b Raza 6
A Mathews c Masakadza b Cremer 24
A Gunaratne not out 59
W Hasaranga c Cremer b Raza0
N Kulasekara b Cremer 5
A Dananjaya c Musakanda b Waller 7
D Chameera not out 18
Extras (b5, lb7, w 16) 28
Total (8 wickets, 50 overs) 203
Fall of wickets: 1-3, 2-13, 3-31, 4-78, 5-119, 6-120, 7-126, 8-153
Bowling: Raza 10-1-21-3, Chatara 9-1-49-1, Cremer 10-1-23-2, Mpofu 6-0-36-0, Williams 10-0-41-1, Waller 5-0-21-1
H Masakadza c Kulasekara b Malinga 73
S Mire b Gunaratne 43
T Musakanda c Hasaranga b Dananjaya 37
C Ervine lbw Dananjaya 2
S Williams c Mendis b Dananajaya 2
S Raza not out 27
M Waller c & b Malinga 1
P Moor c Mendis b Dananjaya 1
G Cremer not out 11
Extras (lb2, w4, nb1) 7
Total (7 wickets, 38.1 overs) 204
Fall of wickets: 1-92, 2-137, 3-148, 4-152, 5-165, 6-172, 7-175
Bowling: Malinga 10-0-44-2, Kulasekara 3-0-25-0, Gunaratne 4-0-23-1, Dananjaya 10-1-47-4, Hasaranga 6.1-0-45-0, Chameera 4-1-16-0, Gunathilaka 1-0-2-0