Dinesh Chandimal (75), Pathum Nissanka (75) and Charith Asalanka (71) struck fine half-centuries as hosts Sri Lanka chased a stiff target to beat Zimbabwe by five wickets in the first ODI of the three-match series here on Sunday.
Sri Lanka playing with a new-looked team in the absence of several players due to injuries, fitness and Covid-19, fought back brilliantly to chase down Zimbabwe’s 296/9 in 50 overs built on a superb century by seasoned Sean Williams (100) in the day-night encounter.
Zimbabwe capitalised on a good start of 80 runs provided by Takudzwanashe Kaitano (42) and Regis Chakabva (72) and with Williams blasting 100 off 87 deliveries, posted a stiff target for Sri Lanka. The hosts did well to reel in the visitors were cruising at 248/4 before they lost five wickets for 48 runs.
Chamika Karunaratne 3-69 was the most successful bowler for Sri Lanka while Jeffrey Vandersay ended with 2-44.
The hosts, however, rode on vital contributions by their batsmen — particularly the troika of Chandimal, Nissanka and Aslanka to easily reach 300/5 with nine balls remaining.
They got off to a modest start as Missanka and fellow opener Kusal Mendis (26) raised 40 runs for the first wicket. Nissanka then raised another 40 runs for the second wicket with Kamindu Mendis (17), Nissanka was out with the score of 147/3, caught by Chakabva off Sikandar Raza on a review.
Chandimal and Charith Asalanka then raised 129 runs for the fourth wicket to virtually seal victory for the hosts. Chandimal was out with the score 276/4 with Sri Lanka needing 20-odd runs to win the match.
Zimbabwe 296/9 in 5o overs (Regis Chakabva 72, Sean Williams 100, Takudzwanashe Kaitano 42; Chamika Karunaratne 3-69, Jeffrey Vandersay 2-44) lost to Sri Lanka 300/5 in 48.3 overs (Pathum Nissanka 75, Dinesh Chandimal 75, Charith Asalanka 71; Richard Ngarava 3-56) by 5 wickets.