Masakadza, Raza carry Zimbabwe to 290

Zimbabwe 290 for 6 (Raza 81*, Masakadza 73, Gunaratne 3-37) v Sri Lanka
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Sikandar Raza finished what Hamilton Masakadza started to help Zimbabwe mount a strong 290 for 6 against Sri Lanka. Raza’s unbeaten 81 underlined Zimbabwe’s confidence as Angelo Mathews’ side face a daunting chase in a ground where they have won their last six games.

Zimbabwe built solid partnerships – 75 for the first wicket, 57 each for the third and fifth wickets, and 61 for the sixth wicket. If Masakadza provided the impetus with his 73 at the top, Raza laid the finishing touches, hitting eight fours and a six.

Zimbabwe had lost two wickets in the first over in the series opener; on Wednesday, Masakadza bashed two fours off Suranga Lakmal, with a straight-drive and flick.

Solomon Mire, who technically got out without facing a ball in the last game, then struck a string of boundaries off Akila Dananjaya and Lakmal. Masakadza continued that boundary-hitting spree at the other end, as the Powerplay overs cost Sri Lanka 64 runs.

When Sri Lanka finally found an opening, it was to Zimbabwe’s own undoing. With Zimbabwe ticking along nicely, Mire tried to force a pull off Thisara Perera and mistimed it to be caught at square leg. Mire had made 34 off 37 balls with five fours.

Lakmal then got one to rise at Craig Ervine, who edged to slip in the 17th over, as Sri Lanka found an opening. During his nine-ball stay, Ervine had already been dropped at second slip.

Zimbabwe got back on track with Brendon Taylor joining Masakadza for a 57-run third wicket stand. Masakadza reached his fifty in the 19th over. Seeking a breakthrough, Mathews introduced the deceptively slow Asela Gunaratne in the 28th over, and it got him instant reward. Masakadza drove the bowler’s third ball straight to Mathews at mid-off, having looked set for a big one. Masakadza had struck ten fours in his 83-ball stay.

Taylor followed Masakadza a few overs later when he was undone by a Perera delivery that came back in sharply in the 33rd over. But even before Taylor’s dismissal, Raza had started his work. He struck Perera over long-off for his first six before pinging a reverse sweep off Dananjaya. Malcolm Waller walloped him later in the over for a six over long-off before Raza blasted Dananjaya through the covers in his next over.

Zimbabwe’s 200 came up in the 38th over, but Sri Lanka fought back, curbing the flow of boundaries by taking pace off the ball. It led to Waller’s dismissal in the 44th over, when he hit a Gunaratne full-toss down deep square-leg’s throat.

Raza broke the boundary duck in the next over as Zimbabwe finished with a boundary flourish. Raza laid into Lakmal in the 47th over with three fours, before striking two more off the same bowler in the penultimate over. Moor struck his second six in the last over, as Zimbabwe punched 48 runs off the last four overs.

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