South Africa, unsurprisingly, were on the right side of the result as Hashim Amla’s 103 coupled with Imran Tahir's 4/27 helped the Proteas secure a 96-run victory over Sri Lanka. Earlier, after being asked to bat first, SA scored 299 runs, which eventually proved sufficient to bag the two points.
Brief Scores: South Africa 299/6 (Hashim Amla 103, Faf du Plessis 75; Nuwan Pradeep 2/54, Suranga Lakmal 1/51) beat Sri Lanka 203/10 (Upul Tharanga 57, Kusal Perera 44*; Imran Tahir 4/27, Chris Morris 2/32) by 96 runs.
In the absence of skipper Angelo Mathews, who was ruled out of the match due to a calf injury, Upul Tharanga chose to bowl first after winning the toss citing the overcast conditions and seaming pitch as the reasons for his decision.
Amla and Du Plessis set the tone
Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock got off to a slow start dealing in singles and managed to score just 32 runs in the power play overs courtesy some disciplined bowling by Lasith Malinga and Suranga Lakmal. However, it was Nuwan Pradeep, who give the Asian team their first breakthrough dismissing de Kock for 23 who was never at ease on the slow strip. De Kock’s wicket paved the way for Faf du Plessis to come out and show his magic. Du Plessis took his time to set his eye in the game and almost faltered when he lashed out at a short delivery and should have been caught by Malinga but was saved as the Sri Lankan completely misjudged the catch and dropped a sitter. From there on, the South African duo picked up the thread and started hitting the Lankan bowlers at will and took a special liking towards Asela Gunaratne. Amla brought up his 34th ODI fifty in the process and continued his impeccable run-scoring spree to take South Africa to 130/1 at the midway mark of the innings.
ton and Duminy’s blazing stint propel Proteas to a formidable total
Du Plessis continued his explosive batting and reached the fifty-run mark off just 52 balls. The South African duo upped the ante and scored at a decent pace but Nuwan Pradeep struck once again to end the 145-run partnership by sending the dangerous du Plessis back to the pavilion for 75. Sri Lanka then capitalised on the situation when they sent AB de Villiers packing in a span of 5 deliveries to claw their way back into the game. Even though the Sri Lankan bowlers managed to keep the South African batsmen quiet after the dismissal of their skipper, Amla kept taking singles and brought on his 25th ODI hundred and became the first South African to reach the landmark. David Miller was then dismissed at 18 trying to take on Suranga Lakmal followed by the brilliant Amla who run himself out when he tried to take on the fielder after sweating it out in the middle for over three hours. The duo of Chris Morris and JP Duminy was out with a licence to attack the Asian team and they did so by hitting a boundary every over before Morris was run out by a stunning throw from skipper Upul Tharanga. Duminy carried on his all guns blazing batting and finished the innings on a high by scoring 10 runs off the last two balls and setting up a huge target of 300 for the Sri Lankans to chase down.
Sri Lanka off to a flyer
Niroshan Dickwella and Upul Tharanga signalled their intent early against the South African bowling attack and even though
Tahir magic takes South Africa home
Tahir’s scintillating bowling didn’t allow the Sri Lankan batsmen to free their arms and score freely and his tight bowling paid off when he found his second victim in the dangerous Upul Tharanga. Tahir’s efforts were backed up by Wayne Parnell who succeeded in keeping the batsmen quiet which mounted even more pressure on the Sri Lankan side. The spin wizard once again scalped another wicket, his third of the match, by dismissing all-rounder Asela Gunaratne for 4. Kusal Perera then put up a gritty fight against the lethal South African bowling but was not complemented by the batsmen at the other end as wickets kept tumbling around him on regular occasions. Chris Morris sent Seekkuge Prasanna packing after his 36-run partnership with Perera raised a little concern for the South African side but the incoming Suranga Lakmal was sent back by none other than Imran Tahir with a direct hit from mid on. Rabada then joined the wicket taking frenzy when Lasith Malinga chopped a delivery back onto the stumps to be dismissed for a duck. It was then a matter of time before someone brought down curtains on the Sri Lankan innings and the inevitable happened when Tahir struck for the fourth time in the match to seal a 96-run victory for the top ranked team in the world.
AB de Villiers or Virat Kohli - who will score more runs?
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