There were warning signs in the first match of the series, when Zimbabwe fell just short of a surprise victory – but they managed to get over the line on Tuesday in a shock 22-run win over their more illustrious opponents.
After setting a challenging 302/8, the Zimbabwean attack was excellent in dismantling the Sri Lankan batting roster to make a mockery of my Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe betting tips and all others that backed a home win.
Everything is on the line now! The series is finely poised at 1-1 and the Lions will be desperate to avoid an embarrassing defeat to a plucky team with some standout individual players, but one that is not on their level.
I have been exploring the live cricket satta rates before the game gets underway at 2:30 pm IST on Friday 21st January at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy.
You cannot say Sri Lanka were not warned, Despite a thorough warning shot from across the Zimbabwe bows in the first match of the series, the hosts did not pay heed and were made to pay by a ruthless visiting side.
Zimbabwe won the toss, just like they did in the first game. They opted to bat first, just like they did in the first game. They posted a score around the 300 mark, just like they did in the first game. So what changed in Sri Lanka’s pursuit?
As always in cricket, early wickets are the key to success – and unfortunately for Sri Lanka, they could not protect theirs from Zimbabwe’s impressive opening bowlers. The Lions were reduced to 31/3 from 7.5 overs at one stage. Despite a battling century from Dasun Shanaka, they could not get close to their target.
Chamika Gunasekara remains a doubt after his injury in the first game of the series – it is unlikely he will be available, with replacement Dushmantha Chameera likely to continue deputising.
Two uncapped debutants are available to team management in Nuwan Thushara and Shiran Fernando, should they feel like shaking up their side.
Player To Watch: Kamindu Mendis
Any positives to take from defeat mainly surround two batsmen. Centurion Shanaka obviously deserves a mention after fighting until the end to take his team over the line, but I’m going to pick out Kamindu Mendis as a player to watch.
The youngster scored a patient 57 runs from 82 balls to carry his team through a sticky opening period and shared a 118-run partnership with Shanaka before he was dismissed by Chatara.
He will keep his place in the side and I reckon he could build on that showing with another solid performance. You can get odds of 4.75 with Betway on Mendis to top score for the hosts.
It was quite the performance from the Chevrons – they were led from the front by a top four who all managed to contribute a meaningful score in their total of 302/8.
The standout innings was from skipper Craig Ervine – the experienced batsman hit 91 runs from just 98 balls in a brilliant knock – but all of the batting unit managed to contribute in one way or another.
The bowling unit was just as efficient – the opening pair of Tendai Chatara and Blessing Muzarabani both nabbed three wickets each – while Richard Ngarava and Wellington Masakadza were suffocatingly accurate.
The all-round performance means I am once again going to avoid putting any money on Sri Lanka to win.
It is unlikely Zimbabwe will make any changes to their playing XI after such a famous victory – expect the same performers to come out firing when they take to field on Friday afternoon.
Player To Watch: Regis Chakabva
I am getting lazy – I am picking Chakabva as my player to watch for Zimbabwe for the second consecutive game.
He was unlucky not to register a half century on Tuesday – hitting 47 from 50 balls at a strike rate of 94, hitting five 4s and one 6 in tidy innings.