Sri Lanka’s Test skipper Dinesh Chandimal signaled his comeback from suspension with a composed 36* off 33 balls to guide Sri Lanka to a 3 wicket win against South Africa at the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium.
Chasing 99 to win, Sri Lanka were cruising at one stage, with Dhananjaya De Silva and Chandimal putting on 53 for the 3rd wicket. De Silva played the aggressor, playing some sublime drives off both the front and the back foot against the pacies.
With just 40 to win in close to 13 overs, however, Junior Dala drew the false shot off the bat of De Silva, to give South Africa the opening they wanted.
A brilliant catch from Heinrich Klaasen at short leg saw the back of the dangerous Angelo Mathews for a duck but Dasun Shanaka hit a hattrick of boundaries off the bowling of Tabraiz Shamsi to put Sri Lanka back on top.
It was this sort of see-saw battle that went on during the latter part of Sri Lanka’s innings as just when it seemed like they would run away with things, South Africa clawed back to pick up a wicket or two and pull them back.
The dismissal of Thisara Perera and then Akila Dananjaya made things tense in the middle, as Chandimal struggled to get on strike. However, it was always going to be Sri Lanka’s game to lose and they held their nerve to ultimately claim a 3-wicket victory, unconvincing but a win nonetheless.
Earlier in the day South African skipper JP Duminy won the toss and surprisingly decided to bat first despite the threat of intermittent showers. His decision seemed to pay off when opener Quinto De Kock took 13 runs off the 1st over bowled by Kasun Rajitha. Rajitha’s poor luck continued as De Kock inside edged the 1st ball of the game to the boundary, to get going.
It was in the 2nd over, bowled by Dhananjaya De Silva, the rut started for South Africa as Hashim Amla chipped one straight to extra cover and was gone for a duck. De Kock, who had looked good in the limited overs leg of the tour was caught short of his crease by a Lakshan Sandakan throw and it was all downhill from there for the men in green as they were dismissed for their lowest total in T20Is.
Birthday boy Reeza Hendricks was the next to go and skipper Duminy soon followed, given out LBW on review off the bowling of Dhananjaya De Silva.
Sandakan, who has looked largely out of sorts of late, got his act together to see the back of Heinrich Klaasen, Andile Phelukwayo and Kagiso Rabada in the 11th over of the Protea innings and when Akila Dananjaya picked up David Miller in the next over, it was all but over for the visitors.
Kasun Rajitha and Isuru Udana picked up the last two wickets, ending South Africa’s innings with just over 3 overs to spare.
It was nightmare outing for the Proteas against spin with as many as 5 batsmen falling attempting sweeps or reverse sweeps.
SL won by 3 wickets
South Africa’s Innings
|Quinton de Kock||(runout) L Sandakan||20||11|
|Hashim Amla||c D Shanaka b D De Silva||0||4|
|Reeza Hendricks||b A Dananjaya||19||16|
|JP Duminy||lbw by D De Silva||3||8|
|Heinrich Klaasen||c K Mendis b L Sandakan||18||16|
|David Miller||c D Chandimal b A Dananjaya||14||16|
|A Phehlukwayo||b L Sandakan||0||3|
|Kagiso Rabada||lbw by L Sandakan||0||2|
|Junior Dala||not out||12||17|
|Lungi Ngidi||c D Chandimal b K Rajitha||4||6|
|Tabraiz Shamsi||c D Chandimal b I Udana||0||2|
|Dananjaya de Silva||4||0||22||2||5.50|
Sri Lanka’s Innings
|Kusal Janith||c T Shamsi b K Rabada||3||3|
|Kusal Mendis||lbw by K Rabada||1||3|
|Dinesh Chandimal||not out||36||33|
|D De Silva||c A Phehlukwayo b J Dala||31||26|
|Angelo Mathews||c H Klaasan b T Shamsi||0||3|
|Dasun Shanaka||c R Hendricks b J Dala||16||16|
|Thisara Perera||b T Shamsi||0||2|
|Akila Dananjaya||b JP Duminy||2||7|
|Isuru Udana||not out||5||5|