Zimbabwe survive collapse to seal historic win in Sri Lanka
Sikandar Raza kept a cool head while all around him were losing theirs as Zimbabwe scraped home by three wickets to secure a historic 3-2 success in their one-day international series in Sri Lanka.
The hosts had been well fancied to dominate the five matches, but Zimbabwe defied the doubters to earn the series win - their first against a Test-playing nation other than Bangladesh since they prevailed against New Zealand in 2001.
It was their first away win over any nation since 2009 and, perhaps overwhelmed by standing on the brink of history, they faltered badly in the final stages of chasing down Sri Lanka's 203-8 in Hambantota on Monday.
The tourists were cruising at 92 without loss and 137-1, but Akila Dananjaya's 4-47 was at the heart of a collapse that saw them crumble to 175-7.
However, Raza, who had returned 3-21 from his 10 overs in the first innings, held his nerve with an unbeaten 27 - including a six to win at the start of the 39th over - while captain Graeme Cremer was 11 not out at the other end.
Sri Lanka had been grateful for half-centuries from Danushka Gunathilaka (52) and Asela Gunaratne (59no) as they stumbled their way to just beyond 200, kept in check by Raza and Cremer (2-23).
Zimbabwe openers Hamilton Masakadza and Solomon Mire got the chase off to a flying start, the latter first to fall in the 15th over having thumped five fours and two sixes in his 32-ball 43.
Masakadza was next to perish for 73 from 86 as Lasith Malinga claimed the first of his two victims, and things began to unravel swiftly for the tourists.
Five further wickets fell for just 38 runs over the subsequent 11 overs and there were nervous faces on the Zimbabwe balcony with 29 still needed.
But Raza and Cremer had the experience to manage the situation, and the former lofted Wanindu Hasaranga over long-off for a maximum to secure victory and spark scenes of jubilation among the touring party.
Great win pic.twitter.com/sS0Ml7gP6V-- Ed Rainsford (@rainsy2007) July 10, 2017