Kusal Mendis, Upul Tharanga steer Sri Lanka to title in Tri Series

Sri Lanka  chased a paltry score of 160 posted by the hosts Zimbabwe with a steady  middle order batting performance followed a proven exhibition  in the field with steady middle-order batting to chase down 161 with 75 balls to spare and complete a convincing six-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the tri-series final.

 Kusal Mendis led the run chase with the bat, hitting ten fours in his dazzling 57, to lead Sri Lanka's strong resurgence after they had slipped to 42 for 3.

Mendis was supported by Upul Tharanga in a 75-run fourth-wicket partnership that put  Sri Lanka on course for the win. While Tharanga was decidedly abrasive early on, and survived a couple of chances, he took over the responsibility after Mendis departed. He wrapped up an easy victory by clubbing a four and a six to finish on 57 not out and, more importantly, put the finishing touches on Sri Lanka's successful campaign in his first series as captain.

Zimbabwe's slump to 160 after opting to bat on a friendly Bulawayo track was principally a creation of their own failings. Poor shot selection left them chasing the game from an early stage. But the dubious choices began even before a ball was bowled, with the omission of their regular openers in the series, Chamu Chibhabha and Brian Chari.

The lower order did not offer much resistance and Zimbabwe were bowled out in 36.3 overs on a pitch that had not offered anything  to the bowlers. Asela Gunnaratne, Vendersay captured three wickets each while Sachith Pathirana chipped in with two wickets..

Kusal Mendis was adjudicated as the “Player of the match” as well as the “Player of the series”.
Sunil Thenabadu

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