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27-Nov-2016 13:44:00 GMT
Zimbabwe v Sri Lanka, tri-series final, Bulawayo

Mendis, Tharanga steer Sri Lanka clinch title

Bulawayo: Upul Tharanga and Kusal Mendis struck half centuries as Sri Lanka beat Zimbabwe by six wickets to clinch the triangular series trophy at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo on Sunday.

After bowling Zimbabwe out for 160 inside 37 overs, Sri Lanka surrendered early wickets cheaply before Tharanga and Mendis chased down a target of 161 with more than 12 overs to spare.

Sri Lanka's top order were punished for a series of loose strokes as they sunk to 42 for three in reply to Zimbabwe's modest total, with left-arm seamer Brian Vitori picking up all three wickets.

But Mendis and Tharanga took a more circumspect approach, patiently adding 75 for the fourth wicket to make the result a formality.

Mendis fell for 57 with Sri Lanka requiring another 44 runs for victory, but captain Tharanga finished unbeaten on 57 to see his side across the line, before lifting the trophy from a series that also involved the West Indies.

Earlier, Sri Lankan bowlers Jeffrey Vandersay and Asela Gunaratne claimed three wickets apiece as Zimbabwe were bowled out inside 37 overs.

Leg-spinner Vandersay broke through Zimbabwe's middle-order resistance before seamer Gunaratne made short work of the tail, as the hosts were rolled for just 160 after winning the toss and electing to bat first.

After sneaking into the final via a tight win over the West Indies in Friday's rain-affected game, Zimbabwe shuffled their line-up for the final but could not solve their top-order woes.

Openers Brian Chari and Chamu Chibhabha were both left out, with Peter Moor promoted to the top of the innings and Tarisai Musakanda given an nternational debut at No. 3.

But on a drizzly morning when play was briefly interrupted by the weather on two occasions, Zimbabwe lost their openers inside the first five overs to slip to 19 for two.

Although Musakanda and Craig Ervine revived the innings after the rain delay with a 53-run stand for the third wicket, Vandersay intervened when he had Ervine caught and bowled for 25, then had the debutant caught at slip for 36.

With Sachith Pathirana dismissing Sikandar Raza Butt and Malcolm Waller in the space of three overs, and Vandersay taking care of captain Graeme Cremer, Zimbabwe slid further to 133 for seven.

Zimbabwe had staged a remarkable comeback against the West Indies, recovering from 89 for seven to post 218 for eight, but there was no such fightback on Sunday as Gunaratne grabbed the final three wickets in the space of just four deliveries.

The all-rounder finished with figures of 3 for 10 from 4.3 overs, while Vandersay took 3 for 50 from his 10 overs.

Brief scores
Zimbabwe -
160 (Musakanda 36, Williams 35, Gunaratne 3-10, Vandersay 3-50)
Sri Lanka - 166 for 4 (Tharanga 57*, Mendis 57, Vitori, 3-52)
Result - Sri Lanka won by six wickets

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