Zimbabwe clinched the five-match bilateral One-day International series against Sri Lanka 3-2 on Monday after stunning the hosts by three wickets at Hambantota. Yet again, it was Sikandar Raza who was the star of the show, putting on a terrific all-round display (27 not out and 3/21). The Pakistan-born cricketer also hit the winning runs, thumping a spectacular six over long off.

Raza and skipper Graeme Cremer’s (2/23) parsimonious bowling efforts meant that the Lankans got only 203/8 after being put into bat first on a slow wicket. Sri Lanka suffered from a lack of partnerships but opener Danushka Gunathilaka (52) and Asela Gunaratne (59*) hit gritty half-centuries to take their side to a respectable total.

After delivering back-to-back double century partnerships, the Niroshan Dickwella-Gunathilaka opening pair only lasted eight deliveries with the latter falling to Tendai Chatara. Player-of-the-series Hamilton Masakadza (73) and Solomon Mire (43) were racing away to the target with a 92-run opening stand. However, spinner Akila Dananjaya’s excellent display (4/47) sent panic in the Zimbabwean ranks.

Raza and Cremer then shone with the bat, stitching a timely 29-run stand to take their side home with 71 balls to spare. This was Zimbabwe’s first bilateral series win in eight years and their first against a Test playing nation in 16 years. It was also their first series win in Sri Lanka.

Brief score:

  • Sri Lanka 203/8 in 50 Overs (Asela Gunaratne 59*, Danushka Gunathilaka 52; Sikandar Raza 3/21, Graeme Cremer 2/23) lost to Zimbabwe 204/7 in 38.1 Overs (Hamilton Masakadza 73, Solomon Mire 43; Akila Dananjaya 4/47) by 3 wickets