Positive Zimbabwe search for upset win
January 12, 2008
Start time 09.00am (03.00 GMT)
Big PictureThe tri-series warmed up on Saturday with Zimbabwe edging out the hosts Bangladesh by 38 runs, a professional performance which would have given even the big shots a run for their money. One such team which nearly suffered an upset or two against the Zimbabweans in recent times is Sri Lanka. The five-match series in Zimbabwe in November threatened to end as one of the most dubiously one-sided contests after the first two games but the hosts showed the character to bounce back and make the opposition huff and puff for their remaining victories.
The most worrisome aspect for Sri Lanka was the batting and the form of their captain Mahela Jayawardene who scored just 19 from four games. They scraped through in their chase of 147 in the fourth ODI and survived another scare in the fifth after defending a paltry 152. The batsmen were tested in conditions which didn't suit them but they still can't afford to relax in the friendlier conditions in Mirpur. Elton Chigumbura and Shakib Al Hasan displayed good technique on a turning track and had to graft it out after wickets had fallen.
If Zimbabwe upset the Sri Lankans tomorrow, the final league game between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will be a virtual semi-final.
Form guide (last five completed ODIs, most recent first)Sri Lanka WWWWW
Watch out forAjantha Mendis: Mendis has shown, in his short career so far, the ability to shoulder the spin attack on his own. He was devastating in Zimbabwe, picking up 15 wickets, including 6 for 29 in the fourth ODI. He showed no signs of discomfort after returning from an ankle injury in the Chittagong Test against Bangladesh, taking seven wickets. It will be interesting to see if Zimbabwe have formulated a plan to tackle him.
Elton Chigumbura: The relief in his face said it all when he walked to collect the Man-of-the-Match award in the first match for his 64. Chigumbura said his fifty was a long time coming after a string of low scores - he had failed to cross double digits in his previous six innings. A demotion in the batting order worked to the Zimbabwe's advantage as Chigumbura arrested a top-order slide, negotiated the spinners and accelerated in the third Powerplay to push the score past a match-winning 200. His timely introduction in to the bowling sent back Shakib and dislodged a threatening stand. With his batting back in shape, he'd want to improve his sub-standard average of 8.69 against the Sri Lankans.
Given how infrequently they manage to win, Zimbabwe won't want to change a hair on the side that beat Bangladesh in the series opener.
Zimbabwe (probable) 1 Vusi Sibanda, 2 Hamilton Masakadza, 3 Tatenda Taibu (wk), 4 Stuart Matsikenyeri, 5 Sean Williams, 6 Elton Chigumbura, 7 Keith Dabengwa, 8 Prosper Utseya (capt), 9 Ray Price, 10 Tawanda Mupariwa, 11 Ed Rainsford
Sanath Jayasuriya will likely get a game given how the openers tried out in Zimbabwe failed to ignite. With the in-form Tillakaratne Dilshan not part of the squad, Thilina Kandamby, Chamara Kapugedera, Jehan Mubarak and Angelo Mathews will vie for two spots in the middle order. The bowling pretty much picks itself, though Thilin Thushara will feel hard done if he misses out.
Sri Lanka (probable) 1 Sanath Jayasuriya, 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 5 Thilina Kandamby, 6 Chamara Kapugedera, 7 Farveez Maharoof, 8 Nuwan Kulasekara, 9 Dilhara Fernando, 10 Muttiah Muralitharan, 11 Ajantha Mendis
Stats and Trivia
- Sri Lanka have bowled out Zimbabwe for less than 100 on three occasions. The most recent was the 67 in Harare in November 2008.
- Farveez Maharoof has been successful against Zimbabwe, taking 15 wickets in nine games. His career average is 24.33 but against the Zimbabweans it dips to 17.33.
- The teams are playing each other for the first time in Bangladesh.
"We didn't bat well, we played a poor game."
Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful was decidedly tight lipped about his side's defeat in game one.