By Srian Obeyesekere
Today’s second game will indeed assume an even keel showdown between hosts Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe carrying the chords of a ding-dong battle in a crowd pulling fever pitch to the 3-match T20 series the hosts lead 1-nil following the neck-to-neck canter in the opening contest won by Wanindu Hasaranga’s charges in a last ball drama at the R. Premadasa International Stadium.
Indeed, Sikandar Raza’s Zimbabweans provided the type of sparks that lent to a truly heavyweight affair in a lead from the front blaze by their young captain who set the tone with a flashing 42-ball 62 followed by snapping three early wickets to throwing the gauntlet to the Lankans. Indeed, it was a fantastic solo effort by Raza that only fell short of carrying his side to victory by a resurgent rearguard Sri Lankan fightback that lifted the hosts from the peril of near defeat to an improbable victory.
Zimbabwe’s ante up that has galvanised the series into a heavy contest for the trophy stakes was best summed up by Sri Lankan captain Wanindu Hasaranga who, speaking to the media yesterday put down this Zimbabwe side as good as any in the world.
“We cannot take Zimbabwe easy. They have proved that they are worthy stuff at this level of the game and we will have to play our best cricket to get the better of them.”
Zimbabwe’s flamboyant skipper Raza himself gave a hint of their prowess in the pre-series captain’s confab when he voiced that ‘we are confident of beating Sri Lanka.’