Pathum Nissanka n.o. 101, Maheesh Theekshana 4/25
By Srian Obeyesekere
Pathum Nissanka reeled off a run a ball unbeaten 101 as Sri Lanka crushed Zimbabwe by 9 wickets in clearing the final hurdle to the ICC 2023 Cricket World Cup with a game to spare at Bulawaya’s Queens Sports Club Grounds on Sunday.
Sri Lanka reached 169 for 1 off 33.1 having dismissed Zimbabwe for 165 in 32.2 overs.
It was 25-year old Pathum Nissanka’s second ODI century in his 32nd appearance. The former world champions of 1996 were off to a rousing start of 103 runs with Dimuth Karunaratne, in a sparring 30 off 56 content with just the 2 boundaries, lending the characteristic calm and collective balmy influence that has made him Sri Lanka’s current most prolific test run getter that earned him an ODI recall in beefing up the batting. Kusal Mendis was on 25 off 42 collecting 2 boundaries in that final flourish.
Sri Lanka got off to the ideal start having invited Zimbabwe to take first lease when fiery left arm pacer Dilshan Madushanka, who replaced the injured Dushmantha Chameera, accounted for the first three wickets for 30 runs after 6.1 overs. The four-pronged pace attack with 20-year old Matheesha Pathirana, fresh from making a name with IPL champions Mumbai Indians, replacing the injured Lahiru Kumara, joining Maheesh Theekshana decimated the host country of the world cup qualifying leg. Theekshana took 4 for 25 for the Player of the Match award while Pathirana took 2 for 18. Skipper Dasun Shanaka accounted for the other as all ten wickets fell to the pace attack.
The only Zimbabwean resistance came through a 68-run fourth-wicket partnership between Sean Williams’ run a ball top score of 56 inclusive of 6 boundaries and a six and Sikandar Raza 31off 51 (3×4, 1×6) off 13.3 overs.
Zimbabwe 165 (32.2 Overs)
(Sean Williams 56, Sikandar Raza 31, Ryan Burl 16, Craig Ervine 14, Luke Jongwe 10, Maheesh Theekshana 4/25, Dilshan Madushanka 3/15, Matheesha Pathirana 2/18, Dasun Shanaka 1/30)
Sri Lanka 169/1 (33.1 Overs)
(Pathum Nissanka n.o.101, Dimuth Karunaratne 30, Kusal Mendis n.o. 25)