On Sunday, Sri Lanka defeated Zimbabwe by three wickets in a last-ball thriller in the maiden Twenty20 international in Colombo.
Dushmantha Chameera hammered a boundary off the penultimate delivery, requiring six runs off the final two balls.
Then he pushed the last ball to square leg, sprinting for two runs to maintain Sri Lanka’s unblemished record in T20 Internationals against Zimbabwe.
Sri Lanka owes the victory to 36-year-old former captain Angelo Mathews, who top scored with 46 in his first T20 International in almost three years.
Mathews had last played in a T20 international in March 2021, and he was recalled as Sri Lanka aim to reinforce the lineup with experienced players ahead of this year’s T20 World Cup.
Sri Lanka were 51 for four when Mathews stepped out to bat, and he and Charith Asalanka scored 32 runs off 39 balls for the fifth wicket.
Sri Lanka was in the midst of a key rebuilding phase, but they were back at square one when Sikandar Raza struck twice in his last over to reduce Sri Lanka to 83 for six.
Mathews then had a 55-run partnership with fellow all-rounder Dasun Shanaka to help Sri Lanka close in on victory.
Shanaka, who was fired as captain after the 50-over World Cup last year, ended undefeated on 26.
Sri Lanka needed 14 runs off the last over.
Mathews struck two boundaries off Blessing Muzarabani’s first two deliveries to reduce the equation to six from four balls.
In the fourth delivery, he tried another huge smash but failed to cross the mid-wicket boundary and was removed for 46 off 38 balls, with five fours and one six.
Chameera ran out the final runs, rendering Sikandar Raza’s magnificent all-round effort in futile.
The Zimbabwe skipper top scored with 62 in his team’s total of 143 and subsequently took three wickets, but it was all for nothing.
Raza’s 13th T20 half-century. His 62 came from 42 balls, including five fours and two sixes.
The next match is scheduled on Tuesday in Colombo.