Ervine leads Zimbabwe surge to victory over Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews rued his side's decision making during the four wicket loss to Zimbabwe.
Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews rued his side's decision making during the four wicket loss to Zimbabwe. Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

Craig Ervine smashed eight fours and a six during a game changing 69 on Saturday to help Zimbabwe to a four wicket victory over Sri Lanka in the fourth one day international.


The win levels the five match series at two apiece.

Due to rain delays, the tourists were set a statistically created target of 219 in 31 overs after Sri Lanka had racked up 300 for 6 off their 50 overs in Hambantota.

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews, who lifted his side's total with his 40-ball 42, said that even though he felt 300 was an adequate score, the shots his batsmen played was not appropriate.

There was no such criticism from Mathew's Zimbabwe counterpart Graeme Cremer who lauded the composure of his players. "We have seen we can chase down a score and set a score and our batting has come right," Cremer said.

Ervine’s tally came in 55 balls and his side got over the line with 10 balls to spare at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium.

The weather was an unfortunate intervention for the hosts. Niroshan Dickwella hit 116 and Danushka Gunathilaka scored 87 in a 209 run opening stand to become the first pair in the history of 50 over cricket to record back-to-back double century partnerships.

The left-handed batting duo had put on a 229 run match-winning stand in the third one day international on 6 July at the same venue.

After Solomon Mire and Hamilton Masakadza set up the Zimbabwe, 31-year-old Ervine and Malcolm Waller made sure the chase remained on track with their 43-run sixth wicket partnership after rain interrupted play for more than 90 minutes.

"We knew we were ahead of the rate and we were always in the game and the way we batted was excellent," Zimbabwe skipper Graeme Cremer said;

"The turning point was when we pulled it back in the last 10 overs. Sri Lanka looked like getting 340-350, so the way the bowlers pulled it back was excellent," he added.

The decisive fifth one day international is scheduled to take place on 10 July at the same venue.

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