ZIMBABWE A coach, Stephen Mangongo, has praised all-rounder Elton Chigumbura's bowling performance after the former national team captain grabbed six wickets to lead the side to an eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka A.
The victory enabled Zimbabwe to secure a place in the final of the Triangular One Day International Series currently underway at Harare Sports Club.
Chigumbura literally demolished the visitors with 6-24 in nine overs as Sri Lanka slumped to the tournament's lowest total of 81 all out inside 26 overs.
Emerging pacemen Brian Vitori and Tendai Chatara also took two wickets apiece.
Mangongo said he was pleased by the team's overall performance after bouncing back from the two losses to South Africa A in their last games and singled out Chigumbura for this good spell.
Chigumbura was drafted in the A side to help him prop up his poor form in the senior team.
"Elton is an all-rounder and should be batting and at the same time taking wickets.
"However, he has never quite shown his bowling side at the international level but today (yesterday) he has taken six.
"It's good for him and we are happy with this performance.
"This should give him confidence going forward," said Mangongo.
The home team had an easy task yesterday as they recovered from a five-wicket defeat to South Africa A the previous day to send the Asians home empty-handed in the four games they had played at the tournament.
Zimbabwe A won two games over the Asians and will now meet their neighbours in the final on Sunday.
Chatara (2-27), set the platform for his colleagues when he claimed a brace in the eighth over after removing Udara Jayasundera (15) and Dilruwan Perera (0) in a space of two deliveries with only 25 runs on the board for the Sri Lankans at 7.3 overs.
They were soon three wickets down after adding only four runs when Chigumbura had opener Dimuth Karunaratne caught by Craig Ervine to start the slide that saw the Zimbabwean all-rounder claiming six wickets in succession.
Vitori, who bagged 5-37 in the first match against Sri Lanka A, then took the final two wickets for 19 runs from his seven over spell.
Sri Lanka began well with the ball by reducing Zimbabwe to 19 for 2 in the fifth over, but Vusi Sibanda (43) and Ervine (21) put on 64 runs to achieve the target safely.
Zimbabwe reached 83/2 and won comfortably with 188 balls to spare.
"Our bowling has been key and they did absolute damage.
"It was a good performance from the guys and our fielding was also up to scratch.
"If you can play like that consistently then you have good chances of winning on any given day," said Mangongo.
Zimbabwe A beat Sri Lanka A by five wickets in their first meeting last Saturday but fell to unbeaten South Africa in close back-to-back defeats in their next two games.