Sri Lanka outplay the Proteas in second T20

Asela Gunaratne bowls for Sri Lanka.

South Africa’s second-string team could not hold back a determined Sri Lankan side that finally showed its class on its tour to South Africa, after the visitors narrowly won a nail-biting T20 game at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium by three wickets.

This means the KFC T20 International series is level 1–1 with the final T20 on 25 January.

Sri Lanka went into the game having it all to play for, and proved the better team in batting, bowling and fielding.

The Bidvest Wanderers Stadium, or ‘the bullring’ as it is colloquially known, paid host to an enormous crowd of passionate South African supporters, spurring their team on, eager to see the Proteas win on 22 January.

But the Sri Lanka bowlers took advantage of a shaky batting start by the South Africans, with Nuwan Kulasekara taking JJ Smuts’ wicket for just four runs. Isuru Udana then had Theunis de Bruyn out for seven, and the Proteas found themselves on 13 runs for the loss of two wickets.

Wickets fell periodically through the innings, with spinner Lakshan Sandakan proving almost unplayable, and earning the best figures of the innings – four wickets for 23 runs in four overs.

South Africa’s collapse was unpreventable and they were all out for 113 with three balls left in their allotted 20 overs. Heino Kuhn top scored with 29 runs off 20 balls.

If it were not for Lungi Ngidi’s destructive pace bowling, South Africa’s loss would have been worse. He took the first three Sri Lanka wickets early, and finished with figures of four wickets for 19 runs in his four overs.

Proteas spinner, Imran Tahir also performed well, and took the wicket of Asela Gunaratne, and only gave away 14 runs in his four overs.

Yet Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Matthews constructed a fine partnership for The Lions, playing the ball in gaps in the field that should not have existed in such a low-scoring game. After Chandimal fell caught behind off Ngidi for 22 runs off 28 balls, Matthews had to play a captain’s innings when wickets continued to fall around him.

His steady innings allowed him to reach the final over, which was bowled by JJ Smuts. After the first ball, Matthews hit two sixes to bring up his fifth T20 half century, and the Sri Lanka victory.

Sri Lankan family, Manoja, Thivina and Narada Jayasuriya, had watched all the games of the tour live. “Sri Lanka have played much better than they did before. I think the young team has performed well, it has been a good selection for this game,” said Narada.

Proteas supporter, Aiden Smits (8) said of the game, “I guess we scored enough runs but it would have been nice to see AB de Villiers play. He would have scored even more.” Jesse Mayers (9) said two of his favourite players were Farhaan Behardien and Miller, and it would have been nice to see them bat for longer.

School pupils who were the guard of honour and the ball boys and girls at the game, were from Maragon Primary School . Yvonn Makhanda won second place in the KFC Mini-Cricket Kids vs Proteas competition, so she could nominate the school.


Nicholas Zaal
News Editor

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