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Raza, Masakadza help Zimbabwe create history with maiden series win over Sri Lanka

Sikandar Raza scored unbeaten 27 and picked three wickets as well
Sikandar Raza scored unbeaten 27 and picked three wickets as well

Zimbabwe 204-7 (Masakadza 73) beat
Sri Lanka 203-8 (Gunaratne 59no) by three wickets
Fifth One-Day International in Hambantota

Sikandar Raza scored a crucial unbeaten 27-run knock and picked three wickets as well while Hamilton Masakadza notched 73 runs as Zimbabwe chased down 204 against Sri Lanka in 38.1 overs with three wickets in hand to register their maiden series victory against Sri Lanka.

This is also Zimbabwe's first series victory over a full-member team since 1991.

Zimbabwe won a crucial toss and decided to field first. In the second over of the day, Tendai Chatara (1-49) had Niroshan Dickwella (3) caught behind while a double strike from Raza (3-21) saw the back of Kusal Mendis (1) and Upul Tharanga (6) as Sri Lanka were reduced to 31 for three.

A 47-run stand between Danushka Gunathilaka (52) and Angelo Mathews (24) consolidated the innings for a bit and in the 12th over, the Sri Lankan captain survived a review for LBW.

Mathews' scratchy 47-ball knock which has hampered by a injury to his hamstring was ended by Grame Cremer (2-23). Gunathilaka managed to take the total past the 100-run mark in the 29th over after completing a century but fell soon after.

Asela Gunaratne (57 not out) tried to keep the fight going and managed to just take total past the 200-run mark in the 50 overs. Raza was the pick of the Zimbabwe bowlers with a three wicket haul and conceding just 21 runs from 10 overs.

In the second over of the chase, Solomon Mire (43) had to use a review to overturn a original decision for LBW. After a cautious start of seven runs in the first three overs, Mire smacked three boundaries and a six in the fourth over from Nuwan Kulasekara (0-25).

Masakadza (73) also joined the onslaught hitting two boundaries and a six in the next three overs as Zimbabwe finished the first powerplay with a score of 62 for naught.

The pair added 92 runs off just 14 overs to set the tone for the chase before Mire was castled around the leg by Gunaratne (1-23) but Masakadza went on to complete a 55-ball fifty.

Lasith Malinga (2-44), who had earlier missed a return catch, finally got the breakthrough when he had Masakadza caught at mid off and Zimbabwe needed 67 runs to win off the final 27 overs with eight wickets in hand.

Just as it looked like an easy going from there for the visitors, a four wicket haul from Akila Dananjaya (4-47) that accounted for Craig Ervine (2), Sean Wiliams (2), Tansai Musakanda (37) and Peter Moor (1) created a scare for Zimbabwe as they were reduced from 148 for two to 175 for seven but Raza (27 not out) held his nerve and ensured Zimbabwe crossed the line in the 38th over with eight wickets in hand.

Raza and Masakadza were named the player of the match and player of the series respectively.

© Cricket World 2017