Sri Lanka outplay the Proteas in second T20

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 at 1–1 with the final T20 on 25 January in Cape Town.

Manoja, Thivina and Narada Jayasuriya think Sri Lanka's cricket is improving with better team selection.

Manoja, Thivina and Narada Jayasuriya think Sri Lanka’s cricket is improving with better team selection.

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 played host to an enormous crowd of passionate South African supporters, spurring their team on, eager to see the Proteas win. But the Sri Lanka bowlers took advantage of a shaky batting start by the South Africans, with Nuwan Kulasekara taking the wicket of JJ Smuts for just four runs. Isuru Udana then had Theunis de Bruyn out for seven, and the Proteas found themselves at 13/2.

Nuwan Kulasekara has made a strong return to the Sri Lanka team.

Nuwan Kulasekara has made a strong return to the Sri Lanka team.

Wickets fell periodically through the innings, with spinner Lakshan Sandakan proving almost unplayable and earning the best figures of the innings – 4/23 in four overs.

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

Dinesh Chandimal plays the ball onto the legside.

Dinesh Chandimal plays the ball onto the legside.

Were it 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 on and finished with figures of 4/19 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.

Jemma Banfield and Amber Mayers.

Jemma Banfield and Amber Mayers.

Smuts bowled the final over and 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, liked what they saw. “Sri Lanka have played much better than they did before. I think the young team has performed well,” said Narada.

The crowd enjoys the cricket.

The crowd enjoys the cricket.

Proteas supporter, Aiden Smits (8) said, “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 David Miller, and it would have been nice to see them bat for longer.

Schoolchildren who were the guard of honour and the ball boys and girls at the game were from Maragon Primary School.

Also read: Pink Proteas to fight breast cancer

Nicholas Zaal

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