South Africa 206 for 1 (du Plessis 96*, Amla 80*) beat Sri Lanka 203 (Avishka 30, Pretorius 3 for 25, Morris 3 for 46) by nine wickets
South Africa, after being eliminated from the World Cup and with no pressure of losing, finally got their act together and defeated Sri Lanka by nine wickets at Chester-le-Street on Friday.
Dwaine Pretorious, after being brought back into the side, made an instant impact, taking three wickets in his ten overs and ensuring the Lankans didn’t have much of a shot at scoring a decent enough total.
Captain Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla then both hit 96 and 80 not out respectively to ensure an emphatic victory was ensured with 76 balls to spare.
Having won the toss, Du Plessis sent Sri Lanka in to field first and the decision paid dividends as Kagiso Rabada had their captain Dimuth Karunaratne dismissed on the very first delivery for a golden duck.
Kusal Perera, and Avishka Fernando then formed a 67-run partnership in quick time playing some aggressive shots to bring Sri Lanka back into the game before Pretorious dismissed both of them for 30.
Another small partnership started to build between Angelo Mathews and Kusal Mendis before Chris Morris dismissed Mathews.
With Imran Tahir, South Africa’s leading wicket taker in World Cups being brought on to the attack, the difficulty to score runs amplified and as a result wickets started to fall at regular intervals.
Dhananjaya de Silva (24), Jeevan Mendis (18), Thisara Perera (21) and Isuru Udana (17) all got starts but failed to convert it into anything bigger as Morris took three wickets, Rabada took two wickets and Andile Phehlukwayo and JP Duminy took one wicket each to have the Lankans all-out for 203 in 49.3 overs.
In reply, the Proteas started with positive intent and wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock went about things, playing his usual array of aggressive shots.
But a brilliant yorker around the wicket from in-from Lasith Malinga had de Kock’s stumps rattled as he departed scoring 15.
From then, du Plessis and Amla played cautiously to survive the initial burst from Malinga and Lakmal before they freed up their arms and started to play some delightful shots.
They brought up the 50-run partnership in 64 balls and South Africa crossed the 100-run mark in the 19th over.
Amla soon brought up his fifty, only his second this tournament as Sri Lanka’s chances of a late comeback slowly dissipated.
The 100-run partnership then followed and it took 122 balls after which du Plessis also brought up his fifty from 70 balls.
With time and runs running out for Sri Lanka, they had a glimmer of hope when Amla was given LBW by umpire S Ravi.
However, upon reviewing, the hawk-eye showed the ball to be pitching outside leg stump and the decision was reversed.
Du Plessis started to then accelerate to bring up the 150-run partnership off 169 balls and things started to look ominous for Sri Lanka.
Du Plessis closed in on his century as the Proteas crossed the 200-run mark in the 37th over, and an over later, du Plessis hit the winning runs, finishing four runs short of his century.
The win takes the Proteas to five points from eight games, though they are already eliminated from the World Cup, they move up to 8th spot, above other eliminated teams West Indies and Afghanistan who are on three and zero points respectively.
Sri Lanka stay on seventh spot with six points from seven games and they will have to win both of their remaining games and hope that none of Pakistan (6th with seven points), Bangladesh (5th with seven points but better net run-rate than Pakistan) or England (4th with eight points) get more than ten points.
Australia have already ensured a spot in the semis with 12 points and top spot while India and New Zealand are second and third with 11 points each and one win away from the semis.
- Karunaratne becomes only the second player to be dismissed for a golden duck this World Cup after Martin Guptill was dismissed twice for a golden duck, once against Afghanistan, and once against Windies.
- Sri Lanka is the only team in this World Cup to be getting 60-plus runs in the first ten overs thrice. They scored 87 runs against Australia and 79 runs against Afghanistan while they scored 67 runs against South Africa here.