ALL-rounder Elton Chigumbura returned to top form with a scintillating bowling display, claiming six wickets as Zimbabwe A pulverised Sri Lanka A by eight wickets to breeze into tomorrow’s final against South Africa A at Harare Sports Club.The defeat for Sri Lanka means they return home after a four-match loss in the triangular series, while Zimbabwe won two and lost two on their way to the final with South Africa.
After falling to South Africa twice Zimbabwe had to win yesterday’s match to comfortably claim a place in the final, and Chigumbura chose this occasion to recall his bowling precision.
Vusi Sibanda hit an unbeaten 43 while Craig Ervine was also unbeaten, on 21 as Zimbabwe needed just 18,4 overs to reach a paltry victory target of 82 runs, albeit with two victims on the way.
Earlier skipper Tino Mawoyo had won the toss and sent in the tourists to bat. They were dismissed for 81 runs in 26 overs. Tendai Chatara triggered Sri Lankan collapse in the eighth over with the dismissal of Udara Jayasundera (15) after combining with Chigumbura whose real moment was yet to come.
Just two balls later Chatara was celebrating again after removing Dilruwan Perera for a duck, this time caught by Sibanda to leave Sri Lanka struggling on 25 runs from 7, 3 overs.
Chigumbura then joined the party in the next over when he got rid of opener Dimuth Karunaratne who had accumulated just 11 runs from 23 balls.
At that point Zimbabwe had moved into a gear Sri Lanka failed to match, and it appeared this would not be the tourists’ day.
By the time Brian Vitori claimed the ninth wicket by taking out Serasinghe, Chigumbura had done most of the hard work with further scalps in Bhanuka Rajapaska (4), Chamara Kapugedera (8), Kushal Perera (2) Angelo Perera (8) and Kanisha Alvitigala whom he trapped leg before wicket for just 10 runs.
When Chigumbura rounded it off, Sri Lanka were in deep trouble at 76-8 in 23 overs. He finished with impressive figures of 9-1-24-6.
Vitori then took over, taking the final two wickets of top-scorer Sachithra Serasinghe who made 17 runs and Numwan Pradeep who was caught by Richard Muzhange after scoring 4 runs.
Zimbabwe needed just 82 runs from 50 overs and they met trouble on the way with two wickets, Mawoyo (4) and Sikandar Raza (3), early.