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Perera praises Sri Lanka's 'relay baton'

Thisara Perera hailed the way in which Sri Lanka's pace attack worked as a unit during their ODI tri-series victory against Zimbabwe in Dhaka.
Thisara Perera

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Sri Lanka owed a debt of thanks to Thisara Perera after he produced a superlative all-round display to help his country overcome Zimbabwe by five wickets in Dhaka. However, the 28-year-old all-rounder, who claimed the Player of the Match award for taking 4/33 and hitting 39 not out from 26 deliveries, preferred to focus on how well the Sri Lankan seamers had worked in tandem. 

A victory for Zimbabwe would have ended Sri Lanka's hopes of qualifying for the tri-series final but Perera's match-defining contribution ensured they will live to fight another day in the competition. 

"First of all I am proud of my performance," said Perera. "As an all-rounder, I am very happy today. All the bowlers, including me, did well. This is a relay baton – we want to do it at both ends. Nuwan Pradeep (3/28) and Suranga Lakmal (0/23) did well. Pradeep has an injury but he did well. This is my natural game, otherwise I can't survive in the international game."

Kusal Perera top-scored for Sri Lanka with 49
Kusal Perera top-scored for Sri Lanka with 49

With so much on the line, the victory came as a relief to stand-in skipper Dinesh Chandimal, who played his part by scoring a composed 38 from 71 deliveries to take his team over the line. 

"I was really happy with the performance," said Chandimal, who is filling in as captain for the injured Angelo Mathews. "Credit to the bowlers, they did their job really well. Kusal [Perera, who top-scored with 49] and Kusal Mendis [who made 36] did their job, and Thisara at the end was brilliant. Once you get a start in the top four you need to bat long. That's what we need to do, and we will have three more days to come up with a good plan [ahead of Thursday's encounter with Bangladesh].

"Pressure is always there," he added. "The last year or so they [Bangladesh] have played outstanding cricket."

Chandimal's Zimbabwean counterpart, Graeme Cremer, admitted his side had been below-par with the bat. 

"To be honest, the wicket looked same like the other one, but played a lot different," he said. "We were probably 30 runs short with the bat. We need one of the top four to bat through the innings. Brendan Taylor [who scored 58]  played well, but we need one to bat till 45 overs.

"The seamers did quite well; maybe a bit inconsistent with the length. Credit to Chandi [Chandimal], they were always looking like winning with him there. We will come out hard on the day after tomorrow [when Zimbabwe face Bangladesh]."

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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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