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Sri Lanka wins T20 thriller

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Angelo Mathews (46) and Dasun Shanka (26 n.o.) made fighting knocks to add a 55-run stand in 34 balls for the seventh wicket as Sri Lanka recorded a last-ball win over Zimbabwe in their first T-20 cricket fixture played at the R.Premadasa International Cricket Stadium yesterday. Once again, a lackluster performance from the top-order batsmen added pressure to the middle-order.

Mathews anchored the Sri Lanka innings to build up the total, scoring 46 in 38 balls with 5 fours and a six. He found support in Dasun Shanaka, who remained unbeaten with 26 runs in 18 balls, featuring 4 boundaries. Their combined effort guided the team to a 1-0 series lead.

Mathews departed at 19.4 overs, and Dushmantha Chameera hit a four and secured 2 runs off Blessing Muzarabani’s deliveries on the final two balls of the innings. Angelo Mathews was named the Man of the Match.

Chasing a target of 144 runs, Sri Lanka’s top four batsmen struggled, and the team was 51 for 4 wickets after 7.1 overs. This set the stage for a tense battle between the two sides.

Openers Pathum Nissanka was dismissed early with only 2 runs on the board. The two Kusals, Mendis and Perera, scored 17 runs each, while Sadeera Samarawickrama was back in the pavilion after contributing 9 runs. The dismissal of skipper Wanindu Hasaranga, who was out for a duck, escalated the pressure on the Sri Lankan team. Zimbabwe skipper Sikandar Raza, with an impressive 62 runs, once again demonstrated effective bowling, securing 3 for 13, while Muzarabani finished with 2 for 33.

Earlier, Zimbabwe openers Tinashe Kamunhukamwe and experienced Craig Ervine made a solid start, adding 37 runs in 5.1 overs. while Tinashe was first to be out, scoring 26 in 18 balls (one boundary and 2 sixes) and mystery spinner Maheesh Theekshana made the breakthrough at 5.1 overs.

The experienced Sean Williams who had not played ODIs due to injury, was once again recalled for T20s and joined Ervine. However, Ervine was out for 10. Theekshana accounted for his second wicket in the same over.

Skipper Sikandar Raza played an intelligent innings to build up the total. They were 64 for 2 wickets after 10 overs with a 6.4 run rate. They were 94 for 3 after 15 overs, building the innings with a more aggressive approach. Raza added a valuable 45 runs in the third wicket stand with Sean Williams, putting more pressure on the Sri Lanka bowlers.

Sikandar Raza reached 50 in 38 balls with 5 fours and a six marking his 13th T-20 International fifty. Wanindu Hasaranga was able to get Sean Williams’ wicket, breaking the successful third-wicket stand as he was out for 14, and Sadeera Samarawickrama took a well-judged catch at deep mid-wicket at 13.1 overs. Raza the right-hander played an anchor role to reach 62, while Dushmantha Chameera took his prized wicket at 18.3 overs. Brian Bennett scored 10 in 8 balls, while Luke Jongwe scored 13 in 8 balls increasing their total to 143 for 5 wickets with a rate of 7.15.

Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana, two experienced spinners, each took two wickets while Dushmantha Chameera picked up one wicket but gave away 38 runs in his 4-over spell.

Angelo Mathews, who opened the ball, gave away 13 runs in his 2-over spell, while Nuwan Thushara was punished by Zimbabwe batters, giving away 43 runs in his 4-over spell, ending wicketless.

Sri Lanka brought in senior players Kusal Janith Perera and Angelo Mathews, and opener Pathum Nissanka (after recovering from Dengue fever), while they brought in Nuwan Thushara ahead of young Matheesha Pathirana.

The two teams will meet for their second T20 tomorrow (16) at the same venue from 7 pm onwards, followed by the third and final T20 on Thursday (18), also at R. Premadasa Stadium.

Chief scores:

Zimbabwe: 143 for 5 wickets in 20 overs (Tinashe Kamunhukamwe 26, Craig Ervine 10, Sean Williams 14, Sikandar Raza 62, Brian by Bennett 10*, Luke Jongwe 13*, Wanindu Hasaranga 2/19, Maheesh Theekshana 2/16, Dushmantha Chameera 1/38)

Sri Lanka: 144 for 7 wickets in 20 overs (Kusal Mendis 17, Kusal Janith Perera 17, Charith Asalanka 16, Angelo Mathews 46, Dasun Shanaka 26*, Blessing Muzarabani 2/33, Sikander Raza 3/13)

The post Sri Lanka wins T20 thriller appeared first on DailyNews.

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