Sri Lanka Open By Beating South Africa

Lasith Malinga bowling
South Africa couldn't take 15 runs from the final over, bowled by Lasith Malinga
©REUTERS / Action Images

Sri Lanka 165-7 (K Perera 61, Mathews 40) beat
South Africa 160-8 (Duminy 39) by 5 runs
ICC World Twenty20 2014 Group 2, Chittagong

Sri Lanka opened their ICC World Twenty20 campaign by winning a thrilling ICC World Twenty20 encounter against South Africa by five runs in Chittagong.

At the Zahur Ahmed Choudhary stadium, Kusal Perera’s half-century carried the 2012 runners-up to 165 for seven.

Then, the Proteas lost too many wickets in the middle overs to finish at 160 for eight in their 20 overs, losing by a very low margin.

Chasing 166 for victory, South Africa were given a rollicking start by their sensational young batsman Quinton de Kock, who stroked 25 runs from 18 balls, with four fours and one six.

He put on 32 runs for the opening wicket with Hashim Amla, as the experienced opener held together one end. JP Duminy came at one down and forced the pace of scoring, top scoring with 39 runs off 30 balls, with three fours and two sixes.

Duminy and Amla shared exactly 50 runs for the second wicket, setting up a platform for the latter batsmen to use up later in the innings. Off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake (2-22) broke the partnership, sending back Amla as he was struggling to get the big strokes going.

And it came in good time as stand-in skipper AB de Villiers was the next batsman. He seemed to be in a hurry, stroking 24 runs off 16 balls, with three fours.

Angelo Mathews (1-21) had him stumped in the 14th over, and it proved to be a turning point in the run-chase. Two overs later Duminy was gone, caught off Senanayake, as the choke word came to play once again.

Albie Morkel (12) hit a couple of lusty blows over the boundary ropes, but couldn’t do more as wickets started falling at regular intervals, with Farhaan Behardien (5) gone in the penultimate over bowled by Nuwan Kulasekara (1-23).

15 runs were needed off the last six balls, bowled by Lasith Malinga (1-29), but it proved to be too tall an order, despite a last-ball six from Imran Tahir. David Miller (19) and Dale Steyn (0) were run-out off successive balls, as the Lankans eased home. Ajantha Mendis (1-44) was the other wicket-taker.

Earlier, Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat first. Kushal Perera gave them a quick start, but Tillakaratne Dilshan (0) wasn’t able to repeat that performance from the other end.

Dale Steyn (2-37), fit after recovering from a hamstring injury, bowled him off the first ball the batsman faced. While Perera carried on his slam-bang approach, Lanka were dealt a second blow by Morne Morkel (2-31) as Mahela Jayawardene (9) too was dismissed cheaply.

The Islanders were placed at 42 for two in the fifth over, needing someone to support Perera and Kumar Sangakkara played that role to perfection.

He scored 14 runs, off 18 balls with one four, and added 41 runs for the third wicket with Perera. The breakthrough was provided by leg spinner Imran Tahir (3-26), who then took over the show, as the Lankan batsmen struggled to read his variations.

The score crossed the 100-run mark in the 13th over, and soon afterwards, Tahir provided a huge turning point in the innings when he dismissed Perera in the 14th over.

The left-handed batsman scored the first half-century of this stage of the tournament, 61 runs in all, coming off only 40 balls with six fours and three sixes.

It was left to the big hitters in the lower order then to get a move along and they did just that. Leading the way was Angelo Mathews, as the all-rounder bludgeoned 43 runs off 32 balls, with three fours and one six.

It was his knock that helped Lanka cross the 150-run mark, while skipper Dinesh Chandimal (12) and Thisara Perera (8) couldn’t provide significant contributions.

© Cricket World 2014