About the Match
Sri Lanka suffered a humiliating defeat against hosts Bangladesh in the 3rd match of the Tri Series on Friday and continue to be at the bottom of the table with zero points; they will take on Zimbabwe, who are in the 2nd place with 4 points, at Mirpur on 21st January. When these two teams met earlier, Zimbabwe had registered a fine victory by 12 runs and they are in good form to repeat the winning performance here. Sri Lanka is yet to win a game, and this is a crucial must-win game if they want to stay alive in the series; Zimbabwe on the other hand, seems to have found its footing in the ODI format and could pose a stiff challenge here in the upcoming 4th match.
Chasing 321 against Bangladesh, the batting line-up collapsed like a pack of cards; Upul Tharanga, Dinesh Chandimal and Thisara Perera contributed with 20+ runs each but others like Kusal Perera, Mendis and Gunaratne failed to build strong partnerships. They were all-out for 157 in 33 overs, and suffered a massive loss by 163 runs. Earlier, the bowlers tried to contain the opponents but except Thisara Perera who took 3-60, spinner Dananjaya and pacer Gunaratne who took a wicket each, the others couldn’t provide the required breakthroughs. Speedster Nuwan Pradeep used his skills to remove 2 opponents in an economical manner but none of them could stop the hosts from posting 320 runs.
Against Zimbabwe earlier, they failed to chase down 291 despite a well-made 80 by Kusal Perera and 64 runs scored by Thisara Perera. Chandimal scored 34 and will lead the side in the remaining ODIs in the absence of Matthews, who has suffered an injury in the last match. The bowlers Thisara Perera and Suranga Lakmal took 3 wickets between them while Gunaratne registered a superb 3-37 to restrict the Zimbabwe batsmen to 290; however, the batsmen put up a dismal show getting all-out for 278 in reply.
Sri Lanka has been struggling with the bat and will need to pull up its socks if they want to redeem themselves with a better performance against Zimbabwe.
Masakadza led the charge against Sri Lanka in the last match, posting a well-made 73 runs; Solomon Mire contributed with 34 while Brendan Taylor pitched in with 38. Raza led from the front with an unbeaten 81 to take his team to 290 batting first while Malcolm Waller and Peter Moor added depth to the batting line-up, and are good assets for them in the middle-order. Pacer T Chatara was the most economical with 4-33 while Kyle Jarvis and Cremer took 2 wickets each to win the match by 12 runs.
Against the hosts, the batsmen were all-out for a measly 170 and the bowlers failed to defend the total; they lost the match by 8 wickets. Raza used his spin skills to remove 2 opponents but others like Chatara and Muzarabani gave away too many runs. Raza showcased his all-rounder skills by posting a well-made 52 while Peter Moor and Brendan Taylor contributed with 33 and 24 runs respectively.
Zimbabwe has improved its batting performance, and with an in-form bowling attack they surely could prove to be a formidable force to reckon with on Sunday.
Zimbabwe is in better form than Sri Lanka, both with bat and ball, and will draw inspiration from their previous win; the contest could be well-fought by both teams, but we feel that Zimbabwe will win here