Sri Lanka have finally got the better of South Africa after losing eleven consecutive games against the visiting side. This match saw Quinton De Kock making his debut as skipper following Faf Du Plessis’ injury absence. The new captain won the toss and elected to bowl first.
The starting of the match was delayed due to rain. The match was soon reduced to 39 overs a side after the sky cleared up. Niroshan Dickwella and Upul Tharanga provider SL a fierce start as the side raced to 60 for no loss after eleven overs. But Dickwella was soon sent back to the pavilion after JP Duminy found a nick of his bat and the regulation catch was completed by De Kock. Willem Mulder soon cleaned up Tharanga as Sri Lanka reached to the 100 mark in the sixteenth over.
Lungi Ngidi struck twice in quick succession but Kushal Perera was in a different mood. He murdered the ball all around the park to reach to his fifty in just 30 balls before being picked up by JP Duminy. At that point in time, Sri Lanka were 195-6 in the 28th over. Just as the innings looking to lose its shape Dasun Shanaka came to Sri Lanka’s rescue. The all-rounder kept on hitting the ball all around the park to increase the run rate. And he was aptly supported by Thisara Perera who played his natural attacking game. The duo added a total of 109 runs in just 67 balls. Shanaka was picked up by Phehlukwayo but he had already done the damage. He scored 65 runs in 35 balls. The innings ended with Sri Lanka scoring 306-7. Thisara Perera too got to his fifty. JP Duminy was the most successful bowler for South Africa with figures of 35-2.
The start of the second innings was also interrupted by rain. The delayed start meant a maximum of 21 overs could be played. South Africa were given a target of 191 in the 21 overs. The required rate was high and De Kock knew his side need to get a fast start. Both he and Hashim Amla duly responded but the former was dismissed for 23 runs when the scoreboard read 34-1 in 3 overs.
The last match hero Reeza Hendricks too departed for just 2 runs. Amla and Duminy looked to build a match-winning partnership and the left-right combination added 57 runs before Akhila Dhananjaya picked up Amla. Henrich Klassen, who was brought to replace Faf Du Plessis, could not contribute much as he also headed towards the pavilion when South Africa were 129-4 in the 13th over. Matters got worse for the Proteas as Duminy was run out in the very same over. Thisara Perera and Suranga Lakmal quickly picked up Andile Phehlukwayo and Willem Mulder to reduce South Africa to 155-7 in 16.4 overs.
Keshav Maharaj played a couple of beautiful strokes to ease up the pressure from David Miller. With only 8 runs required in the last 7 balls, Thisara Perera cleaned up Maharaj as the batsman looked to slog the ball over mid-wicket. Tensions rose as only 8 runs were needed in the last over and Suranga Lakmal had the ball in his hands. After Miller denied a single on the first ball, to the retain the strike, he too was bowled by a slower ball from Lakmal. Clearly, Sri Lanka were favorites from this situation. The last duo of Junior Dala and Lungi Ngidi could only add 3 runs in as many balls, thus losing the game by 3 runs.
We see another instance where South Africa choked once again in the tight situations. For Sri Lanka, this win comes a ray of hope among the sufferers. Captain Angelo Mathews was seen having a bright smile on his face during the post-match presentation.
Sri Lanka: 306-7 (39 o.)
Dasun Shanaka 65(34)
Kusal Perera 51(32)
JP Duminy 6-0-34-2.
South Africa: 187-9 (21 o.)
Hashim Amla 40(23)
JP Duminy 38(23)
Suranga Lakmal 5-0-46-3.
Man of The Match: Dasun Shanaka.