Dilshan Leads Sri Lanka To Victory
Sri Lanka 164-4 (Dilshan 74no) beat
South Africa 163-3 (du Plessis 85) by 6 wickets
Third Twenty20 International, Hambantota
Tillakaratne Dilshan struck 74 not out in 51 balls to guide Sri Lanka to a six-wicket victory over South Africa in the third and final Twenty20 International in Hambantota.
South African captain Faf du Plessis made 85 in 65 deliveries as South Africa made 163 for three but Sri Lanka reached their target with 11 balls to spare.
Dilshan hammered nine fours and two sixes and Thisara Perera helped him finish off the job in style with 25 not out in 11 balls with three fours and a maximum as the pair smashed 21 runs from the 18th over, bowled by Wayne Parnell, to make a difficult task into an easy one.
South Africa's new opening partnership of Henry Davids (0) and Quinton de Kock (16) failed again but with du Plessis in strong form, hitting 10 fours and three sixes, and with support from AB de Villiers, who struck 51 not out in 34 deliveries, the Proteas made a more than healthy score.
Du Plessis added 45 with de Kock after Davids first ball to Nuwan Kulasekara and then 112 with de Villiers but they couldn't quite get enough runs on the board.
The experienced pair of Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene (33 in 16 balls) put on 67 for the first wicket to get the Sri Lankan reply off to the perfect start before South Africa hit back.
Parnell removed Jayawardene before Kushal Perera (1), Dinesh Chandimal (14) and Angelo Mathews (14) fell cheaply as David Wiese picked up two for 24 to leave Sri Lanka on 123 for four in the 16th over.
Dilshan and Perera then forged the match-winning partnership of 41 in 2.4 overs to ensure that although South Africa won the series 2-1, Sri Lanka at least gave their home fans something to shout about.
Sri Lanka's victory also ensured they retained their number one Twenty20 International ranking.
© Cricket World 2013