Zimbabwe have claimed their first series win against Sri Lanka with a three-wicket victory in the fifth ODI on Monday.
The last time the sides faced each other, prior to the tri-series in Zimbabwe against Sri Lanka and West Indies in 2016, was in the World Cup in 2011.
With a record of nine wins and 41 losses to their name from 50 matches prior to this series, Zimbabwe recorded their first ODI win in the opening match against the hosts in seven years, beating them by six wickets in Galle on 30 June. It was the first time ever a side had tracked down a 300-plus score in Sri Lanka.
Despite losing the following two ODIs, Zimbabwe were quite fortunate to walk away with a win in the fourth match, to beat Sri Lanka by four wickets through the DLS method, despite a tantalising 116 from Sri Lanka’s Niroshan Dickwella.
The final ODI came as quite a shock, with Sri Lanka struggling to reach the 300-run mark for the first time in the series, excluding their successful chase of 155 set by Zimbabwe in the second ODI.
The Sri Lankans were restricted to 203-8 in their 50 overs, with part-time off-spinner Sikandar Raza tasked with opening the bowling and notching up 3-21. Their reply was powerful from the start, Hamilton Masakadza’s 73 forming part of an opening stand of 92 with Solomon Mire (43) and a second-wicket 45-run stand with Tarasai Musakanda (37) to help Zimbabwe to 137-1 before losing his wicket.
Four scalps from Akila Dananjaya and a second wicket for Lasith Malinga saw the visitors creep into choking territory at 175-7, with 29 needed off 94 deliveries.
Sikandar Raza completed a decent all-round display to see his side home with a run-a-ball 27 to claim a three-wicket win for the hosts, to claim their first ever series win against Sri Lanka with a 3-2 victory.
Masakadza was Zimbabwe’s best batsman in the series, racking up 258 runs @ 51.60, which included an 111 in the third ODI defeat, and a match-winning 73 in the final ODI.
Mire was also crucial to his side’s famous series win, his career best 112 in the first ODI claiming a comprehensive victory for the visitors.
It was remarkably just their fourth series victory away from home in their history, and first against a tier-one nation for 16 years.
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