Colombo,UPDATED: Jan 18, 2024 23:11 IST
Sri Lanka captain Wanindu Hasaranga produced a match-winning four-wicket haul to help the hosts seal the T20I series 2-1 with a nine-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the third and final match.
Opting to bat first, Zimbabwe faced a formidable challenge as they were bundled out for a paltry 82 runs, marking their lowest total in T20 internationals, with a staggering 35 deliveries left unused. Sri Lanka’s bowling attack, led by Hasaranga, proved to be relentless.
Chasing 83 for series win, Sri Lanka cruised to victory with Pathum Nissanka smashing the winning six, reaching 88-1 with a comfortable 55 balls to spare. Nissanka remained unbeaten at 39 off 23 deliveries, showcasing his prowess with five boundaries and a well-timed six. The only dismissal for the Sri Lankan side was Kusal Mendis, who fell to left-arm spinner Sean Williams after contributing 33 runs.
Earlier in the match, Sri Lanka’s seamer Angelo Mathews played a pivotal role, claiming 2 wickets for 15 runs in his two overs. Hasaranga’s decision to field first proved fruitful as Mathews dismissed Craig Ervin without allowing him to open his account.
Zimbabwe’s innings saw a promising start with Brian Bennett and Tinashe Kamunhukamwe forming a brisk 34-run partnership for the second wicket, propelling the score to 35 within three overs. However, Mathews struck again, sending Bennett back to the pavilion for 29, including seven boundaries.
Subsequent dismissals followed, and Zimbabwe lost their next seven wickets for a mere 31 runs, including a dramatic sequence of three wickets falling in consecutive deliveries in separate overs. Kamunhukamwe, after contributing 12 runs, was caught behind by Kusal Mendis off-spin bowler Maheesh Theekshana, leaving Zimbabwe struggling at 51-3 in the sixth over.
This is Zimbabwe’s lowest total in T20 internationals since their 2010 match against New Zealand, where they scored 84 runs. Notably, Zimbabwe secured its first-ever Twenty20 win over Sri Lanka in the second match of the series, which ended in a thrilling last-over victory.