Bulawayo: Upul Tharanga and Kusal Mendis struck half-centuries as Sri Lanka beat Zimbabwe by six wickets to clinch the triangular series trophy at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Sunday.
After bowling Zimbabwe out for 160 inside 37 overs, Sri Lanka surrendered early wickets cheaply before Tharanga and Mendis chased down a target of 161 with more than 12 overs to spare.
Lankan bowlers Jeffrey Vandersay and Asela Gunaratne claimed three wickets apiece. Leg-spinner Vandersay broke through Zimbabwe’s middle-order resistance before seamer Gunaratne made short work of the tail, as the hosts were rolled for just 160 after winning the toss and electing to bat first.
After sneaking into the final via a tight win over the West Indies in Friday’s rain-affected game, Zimbabwe shuffled their line-up for the final but could not solve their top-order woes.
Openers Brian Chari and Chamu Chibhabha were both left out, with Peter Moor promoted to the top of the innings and Tarisai Musakanda given an international debut at No. 3.
But on a drizzly morning when play was briefly interrupted by the weather on two occasions, Zimbabwe lost their openers inside the first five overs to slip to 19 for two.
Although Musakanda and Craig Ervine revived the innings after the rain delay with a 53-run stand for the third wicket, Vandersay intervened when he had Ervine caught and bowled for 25, then had the debutant caught at slip for 36.
With Sachith Pathirana dismissing Sikandar Raza Butt and Malcolm Waller in the space of three overs, and Vandersay taking care of captain Graeme Cremer, Zimbabwe slid further to 133 for seven.
Zimbabwe had staged a remarkable comeback against the West Indies, recovering from 89 for seven to post 218 for eight, but there was no such fightback on Sunday as Gunaratne grabbed the final three wickets in the space of just four deliveries.
The all-rounder finished with figures of 3 for 10 from 4.3 overs, while Vandersay took three for 50 from his 10 overs.
H. Masakadza lbw b Kulasekara 10
P. Moor c Pathirana b Lakmal 1
T. Musakanda c de Silva b Vandersay 36
C. Ervine c & b Vandersay 25
Sikandar Raza lbw b Pathirana 5
S. Williams c de Silva b Gunaratne 35
M. Waller c & b Pathirana 14
G. Cremer c Mendis b Vandersay 9
D. Tiripano not out 10
T. Chisoro c Dickwella b Gunaratne 5
B. Vitori lbw b Gunaratne 0
Extras (3lb, 6w, 1nb) 10
Total (all out, 36.3 overs) 160
Fall of wickets: 1-8 (Moor), 2-19 (Masakadza), 3-72 (Ervine), 4-85 (Musakanda), 5-89 (Sikandar Raza), 6-108 (Waller), 7-133 (Cremer), 8-155 (Williams), 9-160 (Chisoro), 10-160 (Vitori)
Bowling: Kulasekara 7-0-30-1, Lakmal 6-0-23-1, Pathirana 7-0-26-2, Shanaka 2-0-18-0, Vandersay 10-0-50-3, Gunaratne 4.3-0-10-3.
D. de Silva lbw b Vitori 0
K. Perera c Waller b Vitori 14
N. Dickwella b Vitori 16
K. Mendis c Williams b Cremer 57
U. Tharanga not out 57
A. Gunaratne not out 16
Extras (2lb, 4w) 6
Total (4 wkts, 37.3 overs) 166
Fall of wickets: 1-1 (de Silva), 2-29 (Dickwella), 3-42 (Perera), 4-117 (Mendis).
Result: Sri Lanka won by 6 wickets.