Mathews blames scrappy start as Raza hails band of brothers

Zimbabwe sealed a thrilling 12-run win against Sri Lanka in their tri-nation ODI series match at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka Wednesday.

The loss means newly-appointed Sri Lanka head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, the former coach of Bangladesh, started his tenure with defeat.

The match was historic for Bangladesh cricket as Mirpur’s SBNCS hosted its 100th ODI. This is the sixth venue in history that hosted 100 or more ODIs.

Chasing a challenging 291-run target, Sri Lanka started positively as opener Kusal Perera began his innings in aggressive fashion. The Lankans though lost the other opener Upul Tharanga (11) and No 3 batsman Kusal Mendis (nought) early but Perera continued scoring quick runs at the other end.

Perera scored 80 off 83 balls with eight fours and two sixes before being brilliantly caught by short fine leg fielder Blessing Muzarabani in the 25th over. All-rounder Sikandar Raza took the important wicket of Perera.

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews blamed scrappy start with the ball as a key factor behind their 12-run defeat to Zimbabwe in their tri-nation ODI series match at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka Wednesday.

“We are quite disappointed. We were a bit scrappy from the very outset. We started off poorly with the ball. In the first 10 overs, we gave them a really good start. We pulled it back a little bit in the middle overs. They had wickets to capitalise on in the last few overs. We gave away few too many runs at that stage as well. I thought Thisara [Perera] and Asela [Gunaratne] bowled pretty well. We could have done better on the field,” said a disappointed Mathews to the media following the game.

Sri Lanka, starting the double round robin league series with a defeat will look to bounce back in their next match, against host Bangladesh at the same venue Friday. Mathews informed that the challenge ahead will be tough but the tournament for them has just started and that they will look to play the grand finale, only after taking one game at a time.

On the other, the difference maker in the game, Zimbabwe batsman Sikandar Raza said selection of their team has helped them come out on top of the Lankans on several occasions in the recent past. Zimbabwe in their last six ODIs against Sri Lanka have won four times. The last time the two sides met, Sri Lanka at home faced a 3-2 defeat in a five-ODI series against the African nation.

“I think consistency in (team) selection definitely helped. I think we have gone with the same squad for a lot of series and that is certainly showing up. When I have a guy next to me in the change room for a longer period of time, it gives you that extra confidence. You can call what the shots the batsman are going to be playing; this is the trust we have among ourselves. This team is a band of brothers and we have been playing together for a long time. We back each other regardless of the situation. We back each other to defend 120,” Raza explained.

Raza in the series have recorded two half centuries in as many matches and the performances are backed by his regular visits to Bangladesh, informed the cricketer. Raza is a frequent traveler to the country for participating in domestic tournaments.

“It is very quickly becoming a second home. I think that experience in the BPL has helped me. It is difficult to put it in words. You do get used to a part of the world where you have traveled. It is certainly showing. Thank you to Chittagong [Vikings] for having me here,” said Raza.

  • Dhaka Tribune

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