WC T20 : Amla helps South Africa put Sri Lanka to the sword in dead rubber

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WC T20 : Amla helps South Africa put Sri Lanka to the sword in dead rubber

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Debarshee Mitra


Playing for pride after both teams were knocked out of the Cup, South Africa defeated Sri Lanka by eight wickets today in their last group match at Delhi. The South Africans, who looked determined to make a point here, bowled out Lanka for a meagre 120, before wrapping up the chase in 18 overs.

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 120/10 (Dilshan 36(40), Abbott 2/14, Behardein 2/15) lost to South Africa 122/2 (Hashim Amla 56(52), du Plessis 31(36), Lakmal 1/28)

South Africa began their chase in explosive fashion as Quinton de Kock hit Jayasuriya for consecutive boundaries. But the flamboyant leftie could not continue his rich vein of form, as a Dilshan throw got the opener dismissed in comical fashion. De Kock came out for a run but Amla refused, and instead of hurrying back to the crease, de Kock walked back at snail pace, and Dilshan's direct hit sent him back to the pavilion.

Faf du Plessis came out next, and with Amla, he patiently built up the innings without looking to clear the fence. Sri Lanka tightened their grip with Dasun Shanaka, Ranagana Herath and Vandersay bowling well in tandem. Dinesh Chandimal, the former T20 captain for Sri Lanka, changed his bowlers well, not allowing the South African batsmen to settle. However, no wicket in 10 overs hurt the Lankan cause as South Africa had built a platform to launch their final charge.

After plucking singles for the best part of his innings and no boundaries in 18 balls, du Plessis decided to take the attack. However in trying a scoop off Suranga Lakmal’s delivery, he was trapped leg before. South Africa had lost their second wicket, and were 75/2 but the crowd cheered as the wicket meant the arrival of AB de Villiers to the crease, but it was Amla who started blazing first.

Needing 33 off 30 balls, Amla decided to up the scoring rate and dispatched Thisara Perera for a six and brought up his 50 with a single on the next ball. De Villers did not hold back, smacking a six off Dasun Shanaka in the 17th over leaving South Africa requiring only 9 runs in the last 3 overs, and then finished the match with a neat six to ensure a comfortable win.

Earlier on the night, Faf du Plessis won his first toss of the tournament and finally South Africa got to field first. Angelo Matthews sat out of this one with a hamstring injury, and Dinesh Chandimal assumed the role of captaincy. Shehan Jayasuriya and Suranga Lakmal were brought in for Sri Lanka, while the Proteas brought in Dale Steyn, Kyle Abbott and Farhan Behardein.

Sri Lanka started the innings in style, adding 30 runs in the first 3 overs with Steyn conceding 20 of them. After a miserly over by Abbott, du Plessis introduced Aaron Phangiso into the attack in the fifth over. After conceding a six and a four in the first couple of deliveries, Phangiso made a strong comeback later in the over to send back Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne in successive deliveries. The left-armer castled both to wrestle back the initiative for South Africa. Sri Lanka finished the powerplay at 47/2.

Dilshan and Siriwardana paced the innings well and added 30 runs for the 3rd wicket, before a rush of blood saw Siriwardana depart to the pavilion. After a gentle push to short mid-wicket, Siriwardana took off but Dilshan didn’t respond to the call. Faf du Plessis, always on his toes, threw the ball back to de Kock for an easy run-out.

Shehan Jayasuriya came out to the crease and departed in the blink of an eye, as he looped a slower Behardein delivery to short-cover for du Plessis to grab an easy catch after scoring a run. Dilshan looked unbothered initially with wickets tumbling around him, but as his strike rate dropped, the opener started to show signs of desperation. After surviving a close leg-before call off Behardein on just the previous ball, after attempting a reverse sweep, Dilshan fell leg-before, this time attempting a sweep shot. Sri Lanka found themselves in deep trouble at 85/5.

It continued to get worse for the Lankans as Imran Tahir joined the party, sending back Chamara Kapugedara to put South Africa in cruise control. Dale Steyn and Kyle Abbott wrapped up the tail to curtail the Lankans for a paltry 120.  

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