Sri Lanka continues winning streak and defeats Zimbabwe by 9 wickets

Sri Lanka defeated Zimbabwe by nine wickets.

It was the second consecutive win for the Sri Lankan cricket team in the Super Six round of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers 2023 as they hammered Zimbabwe by nine wickets at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo. 

Sri Lanka is living a dream run in the ongoing edition of the Super Six round of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers 2023. After finishing at the top of the points table during the league round with four wins from as games, the team is ruling the Super Sixes round. In their first match, they hammered the Netherlands by 21 runs while their second victory came against Zimbabwe by nine wickets.

The fixture between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo kick-started on Sunday with the former winning the toss and opting to bowl first. Put to bat in the first innings, Craig Ervine & Men collapsed at a score of 165 runs after batting for only 32.2 overs.

The left-arm fast-medium bowler Dilshan Madushanka started the assault on the Zimbabwe bowlers by dismissing the wicketkeeper-batter Joylord Gumbie at a score of zero runs off five balls. His second wicket came on the first ball of the third over as the number three batter Wessley Madhevere walked back to the pavilion after scoring only one run and facing five balls.

The seventh over of the first innings witnessed Madushanka picking his third and the last scalp of the day by taking the wicket of skipper Ervine. The Zimbabwe skipper also let his team down as he could score only 14 runs off 13 balls. After Dilshan, it was the right-arm off-break bowler Maheesh Theekshana who caused carnage on the 22-yard pitch.

Maheesh Theekshana won the Player of the Match award on Tuesday

The 22-year-old took four wickets in the form of Sean Williams, Ryan Burl, Luke Jongwe, and Blessing Muzarabani. Theekshana’s impressive economy rate of 3 after bowling for 8.2 overs earned him the Player of the Match award. As far as Zimbabwe batters are concerned, Williams ended up as the top run-scorer with 56 runs to his name.

After Williams, it was Sikandar Raza who scored the most runs, i.e. 31 runs. All the other players collapsed at scores within 20 runs and contributed to their team’s defeat. Meanwhile, for Sri Lanka, apart from Dilshan and Maheesh, Matheesha Pathirana picked two wickets while Dasun Shanaka scalped one while maintaining an economy rate of 6. 

166 runs was never going to be a difficult total to chase for the Sri Lankan cricket team considering their decorated batting line-up and the island nation did not disappoint in the second innings. The team lived up to his reputation and scored a win within 33.1 overs to give a major boost to its net run rate in the CWC Qualifiers Super Six points table. 

Opening the innings for Sri Lanka, Pathum Nissanka and Dimuth Karunratne dished out a spectacular performance in the second innings. The two stitched a partnership of 103 runs in the middle with Dimuth scoring 30 runs off 56 runs. Meanwhile, it was Nissanka who impressed the who’s who of the cricket fraternity with his batting exploits.

The 25-year-old stepped up for Sri Lanka in a crucial game and hammered a hundred to steer his team to a big victory. His knock of 101 runs off 102 balls was laced with 12 boundaries at a strike rate of 99.02. 

Following the match-winning partnership between Nissanka and Karunaratne, it was the wicketkeeper-batter Kusal Mendis who applied the finishing touches to Sri Lanka’s batting innings. The 28-year-old played a decent knock of unbeaten 25 runs off 42 balls to help his team reach the score of 169 runs in 33.1 overs.

Meanwhile, for Zimbabwe, Richard Ngarava was the only bowler to taste success as he picked one wicket in the form of Karunaratne on the penultimate ball of the 20th over. The big win helped Sri Lanka ensure their qualification for the next round and solidify their place at the top of the points tally.