Five reasons why this is a historic win for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s abysmal recent record and Sri Lanka’s historic dominance at home didn’t stop Graeme Cremer’s men from breaking new ground

A 16-year drought has ended

This is the first time Zimbabwe have won a five-match ODI series away from home in their history, and just their third bilateral series win away against a Test-playing nation. The last time they won any away series was against Kenya in 2009, before which they had beaten Bangladesh and New Zealand in successive series in 2000-01.

Zimbabwe had never won a bilateral ODI in Sri Lanka

Prior to this series, Zimbabwe had not beaten Sri Lanka in an ODI in their backyard. Their only win had come in a Champions Trophy fixture against West Indies in Colombo in 2001, and their overall record read 1-14. This time, they came back from 1-2 behind to clinch the series 3-2, thanks largely to a splendid chase in the 4th ODI and exceptional spin bowling today.

Zimbabwe have been losing to Associates regularly

In the past few years, Zimbabwe have regularly lost to sides outside the top eight like Afghanistan, apart from suffering a reversal against Scotland last month. While that goes a long way towards explaining the growing strength of Afghanistan, it reflects Zimbabwe’s own dismal form in recent times. Between February 2012 and November 2015, Zimbabwe were 0-16 in bilateral ODIs away from home, in a period where they suffered five successive whitewashes. This result, against Sri Lanka on their home turf, is cause for optimism as they vie to make it to the ten-team ODI World Cup in 2019.

Sri Lanka don’t lose against lower-ranked sides at home

Before this, Sri Lanka had never lost a home bilateral series against any of West Indies, Bangladesh or Zimbabwe. This is their second successive setback, after a string of drawn series across formats against Bangladesh. Zimbabwe are ranked 11 on the ICC ODI rankings, behind Afghanistan, and 36 rating points behind Sri Lanka in eighth place.

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