Zimbabwe hang on for historic series win

Zimbabwe sealed an historic series victory over Sri Lanka on Monday, beating the hosts by three wickets in the fifth and final ODI in Hambantota with more than 11 overs to spare.

It was Zimbabwe’s first series victory against Sri Lanka and also the Africa side’s first away series success in eight years and they clinched it 3-2.

Chasing a tricky target of 204 on what seemed a difficult pitch, Zimbabwe got off to a fantastic start as openers Hamilton Masakadza and Solomon Mire put on 92 for the first wicket in 14.2 overs.

Asela Gunaratne broke the partnership when he bowled Mire around his legs for 43 off just 32 balls but Masakadza found an able partner in Tarisai Musakanda to carry on the good work.

While the new batsman was getting settled, Masakdaza continued on his merry way at the other end and got to his half-century off 55 balls, his second fifty of the series.

The right-hander did offer a chance to Lasith Malinga in the 22nd over as the bowler dropped a sharp return catch as Masakadza drilled the ball straight at him.

Masakadza though did not last long after as Malinga got his man for 73 two overs later thanks to a superb catch by Nuwan Kulasekara at mid-off.

Craig Ervine (2) did not last long and was out plumb lbw to the bowling of off-spinner Akila Dananjaya with Zimbabwe still well in control at that stage on 148-3 in the 27th over.

Dananjaya then removed Sean Williams (2) two overs later as the African side showed glimpses of a serious wobble. However, Musakanda had his eye firmly in at that stage and was in no mood for the home team to spoil their party.

Musakanda slammed a couple of boundaries and looked comfortable on his way to 37 but the 22-year-old had something of brain fade as he tried to smack Dananjaya out of the ground but could only present a catch to long-on, 165/5.