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Craig Ervine and seamers help Zimbabwe level the series with crucial win

SL v ZIM, 2nd ODI, report

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Dasun Shanaka's maiden international hundred went in vain as Zimbabwe held on to register a 12-run win in the second ODI.

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A hundred from Dasun Shanaka and a 118-run stand between him and Kamindu Mendis weren't quite enough to help Sri Lanka beat Zimbabwe in the second ODI of the series in Pallekele.

Under pressure at 63/4 in a run chase of 303, Shanaka helped Sri Lanka settle the nerves with a brilliant hundred. Kamindu Mendis held one end stable with a solid half-century, but Zimbabwe managed to keep the run rate on a leash and eventually broke the partnership with Richard Ngarava picking up the crucial wicket of Mendis.

Chamika Karunaratne joined Shanaka and added some late fireworks, but a ball after the Sri Lankan skipper completed his hundred, Chatara produced a fine slower ball that saw Shanaka hole out in the deep.

Karunaratne kept fans hopeful with a late cameo, but he was run out attempting a tough second run in the 48th over, effectively ending Sri Lanka's hopes of a win. 

Earlier, Zimbabwe opted to bat and started off well with Takudzwanashe Kaitano and Regis Chakabva putting on a solid half-century partnership in quick time. The introduction of spin immediately reaped rewards as Jeffrey Vandersay sent back Kaitano first and Chakabva a few overs later. Interestingly, the leg-spinner had dismissed both the openers in the first ODI as well.

Zimbabwe resurrected the innings with Sean Williams, fresh off a hundred in the last game, and Craig Ervine milking the bowlers. The scoreboard kept ticking steadily as the visitors maintained a healthy run rate. A desperate review against Ervine in the 27th over returned umpire's call - which was not out - and the partnership continued to flourish.

The century stand came up closely afterward and Zimbabwe looked set for a huge total when Vandersay struck again. The spinner forced Williams out of his crease with one that turned sharply and Kusal Mendis whipped off the bails to affect a stumping.

Chamika Karunaratne then struck with the wicket of Wesley Madhevere two overs later to leave the visitors in a spot of bother. Sikander Raza, though, ensured the efforts from the top-order wouldn't go to waste. Even with Ervine dismissed in the 90s, the all-rounder kept Sri Lanka at bay with his hitting. Raza slammed four fours and a six in a 46-ball 56 that powered Zimbabwe past the 300-run mark.

Having put up a healthy total on board, the Zimbabwean bowlers responded with the new ball to force the hosts onto the back foot. Blessing Muzarabani struck twice inside the first eight overs while Tendai Chatara accounted for another to leave Sri Lanka reeling at 31/3 with Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, and Dinesh Chandimal back in the pavilion.

Charity Asalanka counterattacked with Kamindu Mendis holding the fort, but it didn't last long as the off-spinner Madhevere cleaned up Asalanka to put Zimbabwe in the driver's seat again. It was then that Shanaka walked in to put Sri Lanka in course correction mode and revive the run chase. However, his hundred went in vain as Zimbabwe accounted for him a ball after he completed the milestone, and restricted the tail to take home a narrow win.

Sri Lanka have now lost more matches than any other team in the ODI World Cup Super League. Zimbabwe, meanwhile, go up from the last position with this win. They will have a chance to win their second successive bilateral ODI series in Sri Lanka when the teams meet again in Pallekele on Friday.

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Standings

Group A

Pos Team P NRR Pts
1 England 3 +1.045 6
2 Bangladesh 3 +0.000 3
3 Australia 3 -0.992 2
4 New Zealand 3 -1.058 1

Group B

Pos Team P NRR Pts
1 India 3 +1.370 4
2 Pakistan 3 -0.680 4
3 South Africa 3 +0.167 2
4 Sri Lanka 3 -0.798 2

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