Lanka blitz Zimbabwe

Ahmedabad, October 10:

Upul Tharanga hit a second successive century as Sri Lanka whipped Zimbabwe by 144 runs on Tuesday to virtually qualify for the main rounds of the Champions Trophy. The 21-year-old left-hander followed his 105 against Bangladesh on Saturday with 110 as Sri Lanka piled up 285-7 in their 50 overs and then bowled out lowly Zimbabwe for 141. Paceman Lasith Malinga claimed 3-25 and Dilhara Fernando and Muttiah Muralitharan picked up two wickets each, but Zimbabwe at least surpassed the 85 they made against the West Indies on Sunday.

Sri Lanka will learn on Wednesday, when the West Indies take on Bangladesh in Jaipur, if they will advance to the main tournament starting on October 15 without resorting to mathematical calculations.

A West Indian win will put both Sri Lanka and Brian Lara’s men through to the next round against Australia, India, Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand and England. A three-way tie will happen only if Bangladesh create an upset on Wednesday and the West Indies beat Sri Lanka in Mumbai on Friday to give all three teams two wins each.

Tharanga’s sixth one-day century from 31 matches was studded with 13 boundaries and a six that helped his team recover from a shaky start. Tharanga put on 165 in 169 balls for the third wicket with his mentor Kumar Sangakkara (80) after Sri Lanka were struggling at 49-2 in the 11th over. The Africans employed eight bowlers, the most impressive being leg-spinner Tafadzwa Kamungozi (2-55). The batting, however, faltered again. Hamilton Masakadza and Brendan Taylor ensured Zimbabwe scored more than what they did against the West Indies by adding 63 for the fourth wicket, both batsmen making 30 apiece.