The win has also extended Zimbabwe’s dominance over Sri Lanka after they went on to beat them at their own backyard in an ODI series last year.
Chasing the total of 291, Sri Lanka started well when Kusal Perera (80) and Upul Tharanga (11) struck three boundaries in the second over. Perera hit another six and a boundary as Sri Lanka reached 42 for naught in the first five overs.
The comeback man Kyle Jarvis (2-56) got Zimbabwe into the game when he had Tharanga caught at mid on and that was the opening Zimbabwe were looking for as Tendai Chatara (4-33) accounted for Kusal Mendis (0) in the next over.
In the eighth over, Zimbabwe went for a review against Angelo Mathews (42) but it went in vain as the ball was missing the stumps. Sri Lanka ended the powerplay with a score of 61 for two.
Perera reached his half-century off just 32 deliveries and also enjoyed a couple of drop catches – one in the 16th and the other in 24th over. Perera and Mathews 85 runs for the second wicket to lay a solid platform but Raza (1-54) produced the key breakthrough when he had the former caught at fine leg.
Even though, Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal (34) tried to press on, both along with Asela Gunaratne (4) were dismissed in quick succession and Sri Lanka were left reeling at 195 for six in 36 overs.
Just as Zimbabwe were having their one hand on the victory, Thisara Perera (64) with his 37-ball blistering knock that had five boundaries and three sixes gave Zimbabwe a scare but Chatara and Graeme Cremer (2-62) did well to wrap the Sri Lanka up for 278 and secure a thrilling 11-run victory.
Earlier, it was Hamilton Masakadza (73) and Raza (81 not out) were the cornerstone for Zimbabwe’s innings that looked hardly troubled throughout the innings as they were going at close to six an over right from the scratch.
Gunaratne (3-37) and Perera (2-43) did well to peg Zimbabwe back but despite their heroics, Cremer’s side went on to post a challenging total of 290 for six in the 50 overs.
Raza was awarded the player of the match for his decisive knock as Zimbabwe move to second position in the table topped by Bangladesh. (Courtesy Cricket World)