Hindustan Times – July 02, 2023
Unlike what two-time ODI World Cup winners West Indies incurred on Saturday evening at the Harare Sports Club, fellow former champions Sri Lanka added to their magnificent and unbeaten run in the ongoing Qualifiers event as they beat hosts Zimbabwe in the Super Six clash in emphatic fashion to book their flight tickets to India for the 2023 ODI World Cup, slated to begin from October 5 onwards.
Having won a good toss earlier in the day, Dilshan Madushanka and Mahesh Theekshana dominated the proceedings at two different stages to to bundle out Zimbabwe for just 165 runs. The home team had little to do after that, and later was completely shut by a century stand from the openers before Pathum Nissanka carried the charge single-handedly with his unbeaten ton to wrap up the chase in just 33.1 overs, winning by nine wickets.
Madushanka starred with the new ball for Sri Lanka, justifying captain Dasun Shanaka’s decision to bowl first. He picked three wickets in his opening spell, before Zimbabwe’s fourth-wicket pair of Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza offered some resistance. En route to their 68-run stand, the former notched up his half-century as well, but Shanaka provided with the breakthrough before Theekshana ran riot through the middle and lower order with his 4 for 25.
The 1996 winners have now become the first team from the ODI World Cup Qualifiers event to seal their berth for the blockbuster event in India. Zimbabwe will now have to rest their fate on the result of their final Super Six game, against Scotland, next week.
“Coming into Qualifiers is always tough. But still if you go through the process, with the team we’ve got here, we know we’re going to qualify. Credit to other teams, some of the teams gave us some good fight in between but still we are the better side,” Shanaka said in the post-match presentation.
“It’s a big achievement. What we have done in the past in World Cups, it’s must needed for SL to appear on the big stage. World Cup ahead is the main focus for us. Waiting to deliver there as well.”
Sri Lanka have one more game to go in the Super Six, against West Indies, on July 7 as they await for their opponent for the final.