A CAREER best spell from fast bowler Richard Ngarava counted for nothing as Zimbabwe lost to Sri Lanka in the second One-Day International (ODI) at the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium in Colombo yesterday.
The Chevrons suffered a two-wicket defeat despite having controlled the proceedings in the second innings of the match with ball in hand before clumsiness in the field cost them.
Zimbabwe would feel they let themselves down having put Sri Lanka’s top batters to the sword only to be hurt by the tail enders, who undid Ngarava’s brilliant spell.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Zimbabwe were bowled out for 208 runs in 44.4 overs.
The hosts went on to chase down the target in 49 overs, finishing on 211/8, while Ngarava took a fifer.
Sri Lanka had a 39-run partnership for the ninth wicket, a stand which won them the game.
In his post-match interview, skipper Craig Ervine was not happy with the target they set as he believes they were a few runs short of what would have been a competitive score, but gave credit to his bowlers for a job well done.
“We bowled well for the majority of the innings, but unfortunately we couldn’t cash in towards the back end. We thought 240-250 would have been a good score, but credit to bowlers, especially Richard for getting his maiden fifer. They came out guns blazing. I feel like the fielding let us down. Had we taken some catches, it would have been a different story,” said Ervine.
Despite the defeat, Ngarava held his head high as he now holds the longest wicket taking streak in ODIs for Zimbabwe. He became the first Zimbabwean to take at least one wicket in 17 consecutive ODI innings, surpassing the likes of Henry Olonga. He also now has one or more wickets in 27 consecutive international matches.
Zimbabwe had the worst possible start to the match, losing the early wicket of Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, who fell for a duck after a poor shot in just the third ball of the match, leaving the scoreboard on 1/1. It was Ervine and Joylord Gumbie who stabilised the ship for the Chevrons with a 60-run opening stand for the second wicket before the former was bowled out for 30 runs.
Ervine went on to play a captain’s knock, with a brilliant 82 runs from 102 deliveries. He was dismissed by a piece of individual brilliance from Sadeera Samarawickrama.
Ryan Burl chipped in with 31 runs off 37 balls, while Milton Shumba made 26 runs from 45 deliveries.
It was off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana who led from the front with the ball for Sri Lanka, finishing with figures of 4/31 in 9.4 overs. Dushmantha Chameera took two scalps for 44 runs in his eight-over spell.
Ngarava gave Zimbabwe the best possible start, taking four of the first five wickets leaving Sri Lanka struggling on 90/5 in 26.3 overs. Bowling with extra bounce, Ngarava would go on to finish his 10-over spell with figures of 5/32, his career best, surpassing the previous of 4/43 which came against Nepal in Harare last year.
Ngarava was supported by Sikandar Raza, who in the same number of overs conceded 32 runs for two wickets, while Blessing Muzarabani took one wicket for 41 runs in 10 overs as well.
Ngarava also took the catch that dismissed Sri Lanka’s dangerman, Janith Liyanage, for 95 runs – five runs short of his maiden ODI century.
As Liyanage top scored with 95 runs off 127 balls, Chameera and Jeffery Vandersay played the crucial knocks that saw Sri Lanka through. Chameera made an unbeaten 18 runs off 25 balls while Vandersay also remained unbeaten on 19 runs from 18 balls.
There will be all to play for in the third and final match of the series scheduled for Thursday at the same venue.
Sri Lanka now enjoys a 1-0 lead in the three-match series, after the first match was washed out. – @brandon_malvin