HomeSportMasakadza stars as Zim stun Sri Lanka

Masakadza stars as Zim stun Sri Lanka

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LINCOLN — A Hamilton Masakadza ton led Zimbabwe to an upset victory over Sri Lanka in both teams’ final warm-up before the ICC Cricket World Cup, running down Sri Lanka’s 279 with seven wickets in hand and 4,4 overs to spare in Lincoln yesterday.

Cricinfo

Masakadza remained unbeaten on 117 from 119 balls, having forged hundred-stands with both Brendan Taylor and Sean Williams, who hit fifties.

Masakadza and Taylor were joined in the seventh over, and it was their 127-run stand from 126 balls that broke the back of the chase.
“We just tried to play with a lot of positive intent, and tried to reverse the pressure quite a bit. When we got a few away it became easier for us,” Masakadza said after the match.

“The main thing was to keep Lasith Malinga out and just work the other guys. It was a case of working hard against him and working out those variations,” he said.

Taylor struck six fours in his 68-ball 63, while Masakadza struck at close to a run-a-ball throughout his innings.

Taylor was out flicking a legside Dilshan ball to short fine leg in the 28th over, but Williams was soon scoring briskly. He and Masakadza effectively took the match away from Sri Lanka in the batting Powerplay, which was taken in the 35th over.

Masakadza reached his century off the 103rd ball he faced, with a single to deep cover off Rangana Herath. In all he hit eight fours and three sixes, the last of which was a straight hit into the sightscreen, off Herath.

There was a buzz in the Zimbabwe dressing room during the second half of the chase, but when Williams drove through wide mid-off to bring up the winning runs, their joy was restrained. There were no ecstatic celebrations, just measured applause and congratulations.

Nuwan Kulasekara was perhaps the best of Sri Lanka’s bowlers, taking 1 for 23 runs in his five overs. Malinga went at 6,57 runs in his seven overs, while Lakmal disappeared for eight an over in his seven. Herath was the most economical, conceding only 27 from his six.

Earlier, Tinashe Panyangara made the first incision after Sri Lanka opted to bat, dismissing makeshift opener Kumar Sangakkara for 8.
Lahiru Thirimanne and Mahela Jayawardene then launched a 62-run stand, but were both dismissed for 30, in quick succession.

Dimuth Karunaratne hit 58 off 71 from No. 4 to raise his chances of playing in Sri Lanka’s middle order in the tournament curtain-raiser on Saturday, perhaps edging out Dinesh Chandimal, who made 29 from 46. Sri Lanka had modest contributions from elsewhere in their lower middle order, but stuttered through the second half of their innings, as Williams claimed 3 for 35 from his 10 overs of left-arm spin. It was Jeevan Mendis’ run-a-ball 51 that held the lower-order performance together, and he now goes into the tournament with some batting form behind him.

Masakadza said although the top order had put on two century stands against Sri Lanka, it was the bowlers who did most of the hard work.
“Main improvement is the bowling, where the guys have really improved and worked on what each individual bowler needs to do,” Masakadza said. “They’ve found a way to work around their strengths, and we’ve developed different plans for different guys, which is really working. That’s something our bowling coach, Douglas Hondo, has been working with them on since the Bangladesh tour, and things are just coming together now. Our fielding has improved quite a lot, so that’s also helping,” he said.

The win should give Zimbabwe the much-needed confidence ahead of their opening Pool B match against neighbours South Africa in Hamilton on Sunday.

South Africa suffered an embarrassing 134 run defeat to co-hosts New Zealand in its World Cup warm-up match at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch yesterday.

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