Hosts Sri Lanka coming unscathed in overriding the ultimate challenge of going past Zimbabwe’s tall score of 296 in reaching the high of 300 for a 1-0 lead in the 3-match ODI Series in the hill clime settings of the Pallekelle International Stadium has set up the stage for an enthralling lead up to tomorrow’s second ODI.
Indeed, the run crescendo that brought alive the day-night opener in 596 runs scored by both sides, is the perfect throwback of more fireworks to follow where batting has been the dominant factor.
In that insulated backdrop of leading the series that gives the Lankans the upperhand, of course, a game Zimbabwe will look to bounce back from that handicap in what will be a make or break must win crunch time reality to their series hopes.
One thing is for sure. For all their lowly bottom of the table standings, Craig Irvine”s men proved they are no pushovers and do possess the fire power in their batting to go the distance. Having a century maker in Shaun Williams who set the game ablaze in an 87-ball derring-do was of an ace in the pack whose great effort was undone in instant cricket’s galvanising improvised fast lane by a concentrated concentr run charge by the Lankan top order. Regis Chakabva was as forceful by that 81-ball 72 salvo stuff in a Zimbabwean display backed by able prop ups down the line.
In that Sri Lankan run assault, the batting mechanism was spot with the openers Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis keeping the required run rate up. The triumph made light of a mountainous target revolved around the top four mechanism in a gung-ho led by Pathum Nissanka’s timely 71-ball 75.
An equal atom to it was young find Charith Asalanka bringing to bloom in the typical left-hand mould a riotous 68-ball 71 while the experienced Dinesh Chandimal was the cushioning playmaker in that final thrust with an absorbing 91-ball Player of the Match laurel 75.
Tomorrow”s game will be as important for Dasun Shanaka’s charges who will go flat out for an avenging series win following Sri Lanka’s 3-2 loss in 2017 when the two countries last met.