The third game of the three-match ODI series between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe will be played on January 21. It will be played at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele.
The Lankans, led by Dasun Shanaka, started their campaign in the ODI series on a resounding note. They won by five wickets after chasing down 297 with nine balls to spare. Sean Williams' 87-ball 100 guided the visitors to a formidable score of 296.
Thereafter, Pathum Nissanka, Dinesh Chandimal, and Charith Asalanka scored 75, 75 and 71 respectively to take Sri Lanka over the finish line. But Zimbabwe made an incredible comeback in the second ODI, winning by 22 runs on Tuesday, January 18.
Skipper Craig Ervine came to the party for the hosts as he racked up 91 runs off 98 balls with the help of 10 fours. Sikandar Raza lent him support, scoring 56 runs with four fours and one six. Regis Chakabva and Sean Williams also chipped in with scores in the 40s.
Jeffrey Vandersay was the pick of the Lankan bowlers with three wickets for 51 runs. Nuwan Pradeep picked up two crucial wickets, but went for 74 runs in his quota of 10 overs. Maheesh Theekshana and Chamika Karunaratne also bowled reasonably well.
The Lankans found themselves in all sorts of strife after being reduced to 63 for four in 14.3 overs. Nissanka and Asalanka got starts, but failed to convert. From there on, Kamindu Mendis and skipper Shanaka steadied the ship for the home team.
The duo put on 118 runs for the fifth wicket to bring the Lankans back in the hunt. Mendis put his head down and scored a patient 82-ball 57 with the help of four fours. Left-arm fast bowler Richard Ngarava cut short his stay in the middle in the 35th over.
The onus was then on Shanaka to take the Lankans closer to victory. The right-handed batter scored a 94-ball 102 with seven fours and two sixes, but failed to take his team to victory. Karunaratne also made a handy 34, but his efforts went in vain.
Will Zimbabwe beat Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka were deemed the firm favorites to win before the series started. But Zimbabwe have shown that they aren't mere pushovers.
In both games, the hosts managed to put up decent scores on the board. The Lankans will have a slight edge going into the decider.
Prediction: Sri Lanka to win the match.
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