DHAKA: “Thisara is performing as a batsman and bowler. It is crucial; we missed the most senior player after the first game so Thisara stood as up as a performer,” said Chandimal. “As I said, once you get a start in the top four you need to bat long. That’s what we need to do, and we will have three more days to come up with a good plan.”
Despite losing opener Upul Tharanga cheaply, Sri Lanka cruised to victory as Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis kept the side untroubled, rotating the strike intelligently.
Zimbabwe, however, briefly appeared to turn the game in their favour, courtesy of paceman Blessing Muzarabani who moved the ball admirably on a helpful surface to strike three times in three overs.
He broke through with the wicket of Kusal Perera who scored 49 and shared a 70-run stand with Mendis. Muzarabani followed it up with the wicket of Mendis (36) and Niroshan Dickwella (7) to raise the prospect of another victory over Sri Lanka.
Chandimal resisted but Kyle Jarvis further troubled Sri Lanka with the wicket of Asela Gunratne (9).
Perera’s effort with the ball gave Sri Lanka a relatively easy target to chase. Fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep played a strong supporting role, claiming a career-best 3-28.
Brendan Taylor who returned to the Zimbabwe national team following his three-year stint with Nottinghamshire was the highest scorer with 58.
He held together the innings after Perera had Zimbabwe wobbling at 56-3.
Left-arm spinner Lakshan Sandakan then dismissed the in-form Sikandar Raza, leaving Zimbabwe on 73-4 but Taylor was unfazed by the spirited Sri Lanka side, which needed to win the game to have any chance of joining Bangladesh in the final.