Zimbabwe sprang a major surprise in the last game, beating Sri Lanka and leveling the three-match series 1-1. That upset win sets the stage for an exciting series finale.
The second ODI was not unlike the first one in its construct. Zimbabwe batted first and piled up a big score (302) but unlike the first match, they managed to defend their total.
The Africans again got a good start from their openers, with Takudzwanashe Kaitano scoring 26 and Regis Chakabva 47. While in the last game, Sean Williams had scored a ton, this time captain Sean Ervine amassed a 91, with William contributing a 48. Sikandar Raza’s 56 was vital too.
The bowlers were subdued in the opening match but this time, Zimbabwe pacers found their stride, with Tendai Chatara and Blessing Muzarabani each picked three wickets.
The result means a historic and rare overseas triumph is now within the grasp of cricket’s perennial minnows.
Sri Lankan bowlers have found little joy in the series so far but this time the batters failed too. They had tracked down one big total in the series opener but couldn’t repeat the trick as their top order died on them.
Chatara and Muzarabani emerged the winners in early exchanges as the home side were reduced to 31-3 from which point they played catch up the entire game.
Kamindu Mendis (57) and Dasun Shanaka (102) showed some resistance but in the end, the islanders fell short by 22 runs.
Before the World Cup last year, Sri Lanka were proving to be difficult hosts for away teams. Losing a home series to Zimbabwe could reverse that reputation.