Sri Lanka easy their way to a win; Murali picks four
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 20th November 2008
Sri Lanka beat Zimbabwe by six wickets with 100 deliveries to spare in the first of the five ODIs that was played at Harare today. The star of the match for the visitors was Muthiah Muralitharan who scalped four wickets and led a Zimbabwean collapse. Ajantha Mendis bowled with his usual bag of tricks and captured three.
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to field first, but Zimbabwe was off to a solid looking start. In fact, a third wicket stand of 43 run between Chibhabha and Tatenda Taibu got the hosts to 83/2 in the 22nd over, before the former was removed by Ferveez Maharoof for 25. Even then, the Zimbabweans looked to be in a position to get over 200, as Stuart Matsikenyeri added another 41 runs for the fourth wicket with the former captain Taibu.
But once Matsikenyeri was consumed by Murali, the rest of them fell like nine pins. From 124/3, the Zimbabweans collapsed to 127 all out; losing seven wickets for 3 runs! In the ten overs between them, Murali and Mendis had picked up seven wickets for forty runs.
128 was never going to be a challenging total for the Sri Lankans, and despite losing Upul Tharanga early for a duck, they coasted to an easy win. Kumara Sangakkara scored an unbeaten 46, while the other opener Mahela Udawatte made a well-compiled 38. In the end, Ray Price took 2/24 in his seven, but that was about the silver lining for the home team. Muralitharan was named the Man-of-the-Match.
Lanka now lead the series 1-0.