Sri Lanka grabs T20 Series lead in last-ball thriller


COLOMBO, Jan 15, 5.45PM – In a nail-biting encounter at R Premadasa Stadium, Sri Lanka emerged victorious against Zimbabwe in the first Twenty20 match, clinching a three-wicket win on the last ball of the match on Sunday. Angelo Mathews played a pivotal role, top-scoring with 46 runs off 38 balls, showcasing a great finishing role alongside Dasun Shanaka, who remained unbeaten with 24 off 18 balls. The thrilling victory gives Sri Lanka a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Mathews’ composed innings proved crucial as Sri Lanka chased down the target in a last-ball thriller, displaying resilience and determination. The seasoned campaigner’s performance underscored his ability to deliver under pressure, reaffirming his significance in the team’s middle order.

The R Premadasa Stadium witnessed an electric atmosphere as Sri Lanka successfully chased down the target, but the victory was not without its tense moments. The partnership between Mathews and Shanaka played a decisive role in steering the home team to victory.

In a post-match interview, Mathews addressed the upcoming T20 World Cup and expressed his commitment to performing at the highest level. He acknowledged the challenges faced by the team in recent tournaments, including the inability to qualify for the Champions Trophy, emphasizing the need to create opportunities for success.

“I don’t know the reason behind that. If the selectors take decisions with agendas. That’s what happened. Because they had two years to plan it. Even we didn’t qualify for the Champions Trophy. Sri Lanka also played 24 games like other teams. No excuses for Sri Lanka, unfortunately, Sri Lanka didn’t qualify,” Mathews remarked, reflecting on the team’s recent struggles.

Despite the setbacks, Mathews spoke positively about the current selection committee, commending their professionalism and lack of hidden agendas. He expressed confidence in their approach, highlighting their active engagement with players and commitment to fostering open communication.

“I think this new selection committee is really good. They don’t have agendas. They are with the player, they had been playing domestic cricket during the last two years. Their communication is very good with the players. That’s what should be,” Mathews said.

The seasoned all-rounder also revealed the committee’s positive communication with him, discussing future plans and expressing their intent to include him in their plans for the upcoming T20 World Cup, considering both his batting and bowling prowess.

As Sri Lanka celebrates this hard-fought victory, the focus now shifts to the remaining matches in the series and the team’s preparation for the impending T20 World Cup, with Mathews emerging as a key figure in the squad’s ambitions for success.

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