Chandimal wants more from his batsmen

Upul Tharanga was the first to fall in the chase
Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe, tri-nation series, Mirpur January 21, 2018

Sri Lanka's bowlers dismissed Zimbabwe for what both captains agreed was a sub-par score, but Dinesh Chandimal felt Sri Lanka's batsmen could have executed the chase better.

His grouse is perhaps with Sri Lanka's middle-overs stutter, which delayed victory and probably cost Sri Lanka a bonus point. Having been 103 for 1 in the 22nd over, they lost four wickets for 42 runs, and the rate of scoring consequently slowed. There were 52 boundary-less deliveries at one stage in the innings, and a 10-over stretch in which only 31 runs were scored.

Chandimal suggested all this could have been avoided, if only set batsmen capitalised on their starts. Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis - whose 70-run stand was the foundation of Sri Lanka's chase - were out in quick succession for 49 and 36, sparking that mini-collapse.

"We are pleased with the win, but we should have played better," Chandimal said. "The bowlers did their job very well. When batsmen get us a good start, they need to do a slightly better job of finishing the game.

"Before we went in to bat, we had a plan to get bonus point before 40th over. But after the 25th over, we changed our minds since it was a tough wicket to bat on. The first aim was to win the game." A finish before the 40-over mark would have earned Sri Lanka a bonus point.

Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer too was critical of his batsmen. Only Brendan Taylor made a fifty following quick top-order wickets, and the tail offered little resistance. Cremer had won the toss and batted first expecting there to be runs in the surface, but his side could not muster a competitive score.

"I thought we were 30 runs short with the bat," Cremer said. "The wicket played a lot different to the last game. I thought we adjusted well when Brendan was in. We thought it was 230 that was par instead of 270. We just lost too many wickets in the middle overs. It didn't help when Sikander Raza got out. I thought it was a crucial point in the game. If we got 230, we would have a really good chance of winning."

Although at the toss Cremer had expected batting conditions to become worse as the match wore on, he suggested the opposite was true, after the game had ended. Sri Lanka used the bouncer to good effect, with Thisara Perera taking three top-order wickets with short deliveries. Zimbabwe's quicks had less success with short balls.

"With the wicket being a little bit two-paced, I think Sri Lanka saw that quite early, and used [short balls] to their advantage. I think, in the evening, there was a little bit of dew, and it came on to the bat better - not like in the afternoon when it got stuck. We will keep that in mind when we bowl in the next game."

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