Despite a nervy chase, perennial underdogs claim first-ever series win over Sri Lanka in deciding ODI in Hambanota
Zimbabwe have edged out Sri Lanka by three wickets in the fifth one-day international on Monday to clinch their first overseas triumph in eight years.
Taking the series 3-2, the 11th-ranked Zimbabwe team also registered their first series win in the South Asian nation.
Off-spinner Sikandar Raza claimed three wickets in Hambantota to restrict the hosts to 8-203 after Zimbabwe elected to field first. He then anchored a tense chase with an unbeaten 27 as the visitors won with 71 balls to spare.
Zimbabwe opener Hamilton Masakadza top-scored with a fluent 73 before rookie Sri Lankan off-spinner Akila Dananjaya struck back with four wickets to rattle the visitor’s middle-order.
Crusing at 1-137, the visitors lost 6-38 but Raza and skipper Graeme Cremer hung on for an unbeaten 29-run stand as the perennial underdogs of world cricket erupted in celebrations.
Sri Lanka suffered early on from a lack of partnerships but opener Danushka Gunathilaka (52) and Asela Gunaratne (59 not out) hit gritty half-centuries to steady the home side, though it was not enough to stop an inspired Zimbabwe.