[Sri Lanka], July 11 (ANI): All-rounder Sikandar Raza starred with both bat and ball to help Zimbabwe beat Sri Lanka by three wickets and clinch a historic series victory in the fifth and final ODI at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Hambantota on Monday.
Taking the series 3-2 in Hambantota, 11th-ranked Zimbabwe registered its maiden series win in Sri Lanka, and first overseas triumph in eight years.
Raza took 3 for 21 in 10 overs with his off-spin to restrict the home side to 203 for 8 after Zimbabwe elected to field first. He then anchored a tense chase with an unbeaten 27 as the visiting side won with 71 balls to spare.
Hamilton Masakadza, the Zimbabwe opener, top-scored with a fluent 73 before Akila Dananjaya, the rookie off-spinner, struck back with four wickets to rattle the Zimbabwe middle-order.
The team slipped from 137 for 1 to 175 for 7 - losing six wickets for 38 runs - but Raza and Graeme Cremer, the skipper who made 11 not out, hung on for an unbeaten 29-run stand as Zimbabwe erupted in celebration.
Earlier, Pakistan-born Raza, who opened the bowling, returned with impressive figures at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium.
Raza, named Player of the Match, was complemented by Cremer, who took two wickets with his wily leg-spin, most notably the prized scalp of his opposite number Angelo Mathews (24).
Sri Lanka suffered from a lack of partnerships but Danushka Gunathilaka (52), the opener, and Asela Gunaratne (59 not out) hit gritty half-centuries to steady the side.
The home team slipped to 153 for 8 in the 42nd over before Gunaratne and Dushmantha Chameera (18 not out) put on an unbeaten 50-run stand for the ninth wicket.
Tendai Chatara, the paceman, drew first blood after getting Niroshan Dickwella - who came into the match with two successive centuries - caught behind for three. The wicket also pulled the brakes on Sri Lanka's rampaging opening starts in the previous ODIs against the visiting African side.
Dickwella and Gunathilaka made ODI history in delivering back-to-back double century partnerships in the previous two contests against Zimbabwe. (ANI)