About the Match
The final match of the Sri Lanka – Zimbabwe ODI series will be a veritable final as both the teams go into the match locked at 1-1. The visitors have won hearts by the manner in which they have played and outperformed any expectations that the cricket loving public had of them. Can they beat Sri Lanka once more to register their first ever series victory in Sri Lanka?
The desperation in the Sri Lankan camp was evident to see as they tried their hardest to delay the 20th
over of the Zimbabwe innings from being bowled in the hope that rain could end the game and save them.
It was not a situation that Sri Lankan supporters would have wanted to see and everyone would be left wondering how is it that their team is struggling to beat Zimbabwe in home conditions.
300 used to be a safe score in Sri Lanka but Zimbabwe has chased it down twice and Sri Lanka once in this series. The start that Dickwella and Gunathilaka had provided should have led to a score of 330-340 minimum.
It was those runs that were left on the field that made the difference in the end.
Of course, even after scoring 300, Sri Lanka would have hoped their bowlers would be able to do a better job but they lacked consistency and never looked like taking any wickets. The inclusion of Asitha Fernando was a failure, Dushmantha Chameera kept on leaking runs and Lakhan Sandakan actually went for 13.50 runs per over from his 3.2 overs.
For Sri Lanka to win they will want to chase in the last match and allow their batsmen to take on the pressure rather than the bowlers.
Zimbabwe skipper Graeme Cremer has said that his team's success in this series has surprised everyone including themselves. They have achieved this success through some fearless cricket where they were unafraid to take on the Sri Lankans.
Now that they are on the cusp of a famous series victory, can they continue to play the same way?
The DNA of this team is very strong and they have benefitted greatly from the stability that Heath Streak has provided them. Hamilton Masakadza and Solomon Mire have been excellent in the series playing with intent and going on to play the big innings when they have got in.
Craig Ervine too showed his class in the last game, while Ervine, Raza, and Waller too have been excellent in the middle order. The confidence with which they chased down a tricky target shows the depth they have in their batting.
The Zimbabwe bowling was very ordinary to start with but actually got better at the death when they were able to pull things back. We think they need to do something different, maybe start with two spinners, set some different fields, anything really to get a few early wickets.
The Sri Lankan middle order has not shown the fluency that their top order has and a couple of early wickets in the ‘final’ could cause a potential collapse.
Pitch and Conditions
Hambantota has provided the best batting surfaces in this tournament and even though there was a little slowing up of the ball in the last match, batsmen could still play their shots with ease. The weather forecast for Monday is much better than for the last match but with a lot of rain around on Sunday, some amount of moisture may have crept in.
We expect to see a full game with possibly the odd interruption.
Sri Lanka is definitely the favorite, however, Zimbabwe is definitely worth the odds being offered. Back Zimbabwe to win