Brief scores: Sri Lanka 188/5 (Kusal Mendis 54, Hasaranga 32*) beat Zimbabwe 155/5 (Madhevere 43, Shumba 32, Karunaratne 2/26) by 33 runs.
Asia Cup 2022 champions Sri Lanka have kick-started their time Down Under on a winning note, registering a convincing 33-run victory over Zimbabwe in their first warm-up encounter, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. After batting first and posting 188 on the board, the Lankans restricted the Craig Ervine-led Zimbabwe side to 155.
Dasun Shanaka’s side were in fact inserted into bat, but it was no problem for the newly-crowned Asia Cup champions, who got off to a flyer. Openers Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Mendis were both in the zone as the Lankans brought up their fifty in just the fifth over, for the loss of no wickets.
Nissanka fell for 21 in the final over of the powerplay, but Mendis kept going and registered a fine half-century. The 27-year-old struck three sixes en route a flashy 29-ball 54, before being dismissed by Ryan Burl in the 10th over.
On the day, Sri Lanka’s middle-order did not fire, Dhananjaya de Silva, Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Danushka Gunathilaka all falling for 17, and at one point, Shanaka’s side were at risk of squandering the excellent start given by the openers. However, a fiery 37* (14) towards the end from Wanindu Hasaranga propelled the score to 188/5.
Chasing 189 was always going to be tough, but Zimbabwe got off to an excellent start. Regis Chakabva (20 off 15) and Craig Ervine (23 off 15) put on 39 runs off just 3.1 overs before Wesley Madhevere (43) chipped in with some vital runs to add teeth to the chase. At 61/1 in the seventh over, Zimbabwe were very much in the chase.
To Zimbabwe’s dismay, however, the chase fell apart in no time as Ervine, Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza falling in quick succession, in the span of 3.4 overs, broke the back of the chase. Milton Shumba impressed with a solid 32 but it wasn’t enough as Zimbabwe finished on 155/5, 33 short of Sri Lanka’s total.
On the bowling front for Sri Lanka, Theekshana (2/39) was surprisingly expensive, but Madushanka (0/25 off 4), Hasaranga (0/22 off 4) and Chamika Karunaratne (2/26 off 3) all enjoyed good outings.
The Asia Cup champs have one more warm-up match before the first round of the T20WC, against Ireland on Thursday (October 13) at the Junction Oval in Melbourne.