Zimbabwe grabbed a win in the fifth and final ODI of the 5-match series by 3-wickets to clinch the series 3-2 in Hambantota after Sikandar Raza scored a six to conclude the contest. Chasing a target of 204, the visitors began the chase pretty well after Hamilton Masakadza and Solomon Mire put on 92 for the first wicket before Mire was cleaned up by Gunaratane for 43. Though Sri Lanka got the breakthrough, Masakadza continued with his scoring rate and went on compiled another half-century. The win helps Zimbabwe to their first series win against Sri Lanka and first away series win in eight years. For Sri Lanka, though, the result puts a massive block in their hopes of automatically qualifying for the 2019 World Cup. They take on India next in another five match series, a poor outcome there and things could get awry really quickly.
The visitors looked steady in their chase but lost the plot in between only to get reduced to 172/6. Lasith Malinga in the process showed glimpses of excellence as he returned with figures of 2/44 but it was another spinner Akila Dananjaya who produced a magnificent spell of bowling to scalp four wickets during the course.
Sikandar Raza on the other side looked solid but kept running out of partners till Graeme Creamer who came in at number 9 held on to the innings. Raza along with Creamer scored an unbeaten partnership of 29 runs to guide their side over the line.
Earlier, hosts Sri Lanka after riding on a brilliant half-century by Gunaratne at the end managed to score 203/8 in 50 overs. Graeme Cremer decided to bowl first and his troops didn’t even disappoint their skipper.
In-form Nirosha Dickwella was the first batsman to go back in the hut for 3 by Chatara after he edged a good length delivery to give a straight forward catch to Peter Moor behind the stumps. Cremer experimented with the bowling as he asked Sikandar Raza to bowl the first over and it did give them fruitful result.
Raza Mendis who tried to play the ball through on-side but only managed to chip it in the air to give a sitter to Cremer at midwicket in the fifth over while he cleaned Upul Tharanga in 9th. Sikandar Raza eventually returned with figures of 3/21 in 10 overs.