Sri Lankan spinners wrought havoc amongst the South African batting ranks dismissing them for their lowest ever T20I total to set up a thrilling three-wicket win in the one-off match played in front of a jam-packed R Premadasa Stadium yesterday.
Winning the toss and batting first South Africa’s batting was dismantled for 98 in 16.4 overs by spinners Lakshan Sandakan (3/19), Akila Dananjaya (2/15) and Dhananjaya de Silva (2/22).
For South Africa to have any chance they needed early wickets upfront and Kagiso Rabada provided them with just that by sending back Kusal Perera (3) and Kusal Mendis (1) in his opening over.
But Dinesh Chandimal returning for his first international match after serving a 3-Test and four-match ODI ban provided the stability to the batting adding a useful 53 for the third wicket with Dhananjaya de Silva (31) and staying right till the end to see his team home as wickets fell in a canter around him at the other end thus heightening the tension in the match.
Chandimal’s cool head saw Sri Lanka home as he guided them to 99-7 in the 16 th over remaining unbeaten on 36 scored off 33 balls (3 fours, 1 six). However it was Isuru Udana who made the winning hit a straight drive for four off Lungi Ngidi as the stadium erupted.
South Africa started off on a positive note with Quinton de Kock hitting three fours off the first four balls bowled by Kasun Rajitha. However Sri Lanka hit back in the next over when Dhananjaya de Silva with his off breaks had Hashim Amla caught at extra cover for a duck and added the vital wicket of skipper JP Duminy for three to carry away the Man of the Match award.
Dananajaya and Sandakan then joined the attack to dismantle the rest of the South African batting as they ran amok. Sandakan struck deep into the hearts of the South African batting when he sent back Henriech Klaasen (18), Andile Phehelukwayo (0) and Rabada (0) in his third over.
There was no come back for the Proteas from there onwards as they slid deep further into the mire to be dismissed three short of their previous lowest total of 100 against Pakistan at the Centurion in 2013. It was a morale-boosting win for the Lankans who have now won three one-day games in a row against the Proteas.