COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Zimbabwe's seventh-wicket pair Luke Jongwe and Clive Madande hit 24 runs in the last over to pull off a thrilling four-wicket win in the second Twenty20 match against Sri Lanka and level the three-match series on Tuesday.
Batting first, Sri Lanka made 173-6 in 20 overs and the tourists needed 20 runs in the last over bowled by Angelo Mathews in which they hit three sixes, the first of which was a no-ball, and a boundary.
To add to the last-over drama, Maheesh Theekshana got under comfortably but dropped a skier from Jongwe off the fourth ball.
Captain Craig Ervine top scored with a career-best 70 off 54 balls. His innings included six boundaries and two sixes.
His 74-run partnership with Brian Bennet (25) consolidated the Zimbabwe innings after they lost opener Tinashe Kamunhukamwe (12) caught by Wanindu Hasaranga off left-arm fast bowler Dilshan Madushanka.
Ervine's previous highest individual score was 68 scored against Ireland in 2021.
Despite the long partnership, the tourists were constantly behind the asking rate and lost regular wickets as they tried to accelerate.
Then Jongwe and Madande scored 35 runs off 13 balls and there was a still a delivery remaining in the final over when Madande hit Mathews for a winning six over deep mid-wicket.
Jongwe was unbeaten on 25 off 12 deliveries while Madande hit 15 off five balls.
The series decider will be played on Thursday.
Spinner Theekshana and fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera took two wickets each for Sri Lanka.
No. 5 batsman Charith Asalanka and Mathews scored half-centuries sharing a century partnership to lift Sri Lanka when they had crashed to 27-4 batting first.
Zimbabwe took control of the match soon after opting to field when seamer Blessing Muzarabani struck twice in consecutive balls in the second over.
Opening batsman Pathum Nissanka mistimed Muzarabani and was caught in the deep by Jongwe and in the next delivery had Kusal Perera caught at covers by Ryan Burl leaving Sri Lanka two down for one run.
Muzarabani delivered a good outswinger at Sadeera Samarawickrama, who survived and avoided a hat trick.
Mendis and Samarawickrama looked promising adding 19 for the third wicket before seamer Jongwe had Mendis (4) caught by Burl.
When Samarawickrama (16) edged left-arm spinner Wellington Masakadza to wicketkeeper Madande, Sri Lanka were four down for 27 in the fifth over.
Asalanka and Mathews combined for a 118-run partnership for the fifth wicket off 79 deliveries. It was the highest fifth wicket stand for Sri Lanka surpassing 86 runs shared by Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Asalanka against Bangladesh in 2021.
Asalanka made 69 off just 39 balls including five boundaries and three sixes. It was Asalanka's fifth half-century score in the shortest format in cricket.
Mathews was unbeaten on 66 off 51 deliveries, his sixth Twenty20 half-century including six boundaries and two sixes.
The pair scored 18 and 20 runs respectively in the 15th and 16th overs which helped Sri Lanka reach a formidable total.
Muzarabani had two wickets for 36 off four overs while Jongway had two wickets for 32 runs in two overs.
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