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  5. Hard-fought win in series opener against Zimbabwe ushers Sri Lanka's T20I era under Wanindu Hasaranga

Hard-fought win in series opener against Zimbabwe ushers Sri Lanka's T20I era under Wanindu Hasaranga

Former Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews played a gritty knock of 46 off 38 balls with the help of five fours and a maximum. He was awarded the Player of the Match (POTM) for his match-winning innings.

Written By: Kumar Rupesh @afiestysoul New Delhi Updated on: January 15, 2024 10:12 IST
Dasun Shanaka and Dushmantha Chameera celebrate together.
Image Source : AP Dasun Shanaka and Dushmantha Chameera celebrate together.

Wanindu Hasaranga scripted a winning start to his captaincy era on Sunday (January 14) as Sri Lanka pipped Zimbabwe by three wickets in the T20I series opener at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo by three wickets. The toss fell in favour of the Sri Lankan skipper Hasaranga and he had no hesitation in asking the tourists to put a score on the board.

The Chevrons got off to a sedate start as they failed to maximize the powerplay to its fullest. Although, all of their top-four batters got starts, barring the skipper Sikandar Raza none of the other three utilised their starts.

Raza played like a 'one-man army' and made the Sri Lankan bowlers toil for his wicket. Raza scored yet another fifty - his fifth consecutive half-century in the format and became the first-ever batter to score five consecutive half-centuries in the shortest format of the game.

He went past the likes of Brendon McCullum, Chris Gayle, and Reeza Hendricks to attain the elusive feat.

His 62-run knock off 42 balls involved five fours and two maximums and helped the visitors post a fighting total of 143/5 on the board.

Other than Nuwan Thushara and Dushmantha Chmeera, all the other Sri Lankan bowlers were immaculate in terms of their line and length and ensured the tourists didn't breach the 150-run mark.

In reply, Zimbabwe applied relentless pressure on the Hasaranga-led side and made early inroads to get an upper hand in the contest.

Sri Lanka lost wickets at regular intervals and were reeling at 83/6 at the end of the 14th over. They needed 61 to win off the last six overs and just had four wickets in hand.

However, a rescue of the highest order by Angelo Mathews, who was playing a T20I game for the first time since March 2021, and Dasun Shanaka took the Lankan Lions home eventually. Mathews scored 46 off 38 balls.

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