South Africa once again underlined that they will be no pushovers in the T20I world cup as they cantered home to an emphatic 7 wicket win over a very out of sorts looking Sri Lanka outfit at the Premadasa in Colombo.
Sri Lanka won the toss and batted first and after a quick start, Avishka Fernando (12) pushed a tame catch back to Rabada to signal another Sri Lanka batting debacle. Dhananjaya D Silva was stumped down leg by D Kock of Fortuin and Rajapaksa’s stumps went for a walk as he tried to make room to hit Rabada with Sri Lanka slipping to 28/3.
There was a bit of a partnership of 34 runs between Kamindu Mendes (10) and Kusal Parera (39) but once they both got dismissed, the Sri Lankan lower order simply could not force the pace with Shanaka getting out for 18 and only Karunaratne with 24 from 19 balls was able to hit a couple of blows at the end to take Sri Lanka to 120/8
The South African spinners were again in the limelight with skipper Maharaj leading the way with 1/14 off 4 overs . Fortuin (2/21) , Rabada(2/23) , Markram (1/4) and Moulder (1/11) chipped in with wickets. For a change, Shamsi (0/27) went wicketless .
In the chase, the South African openers were in full control with both De Kock and Hendricks playing free-flowing shots all around the ground. De Kock’s driving was superb as was his attacking shots vs the spinners while Hendricks (56notout) played several forcing shots while also rotating the strike. De Kock’s 59 notout of 46 balls made him the man of the match as South Africa cantered home by 10 wickets with 5 overs to go.
De Kock also got the man of the series award for his fine batting performance in challenging spinning tracks.
Lots to ponder for Sri Lanka as they approach the T20I world cup. They were humiliated by the Proteas in their own backyard in conditions favourable for their own bowlers. The batting has looked rudderless.
For, South Africa, this series whitewash effected on Sri Lanka will add more to their confidence and their team will be strengthened with the return of original skipper Bavuma and David Miller.
Sri Lanka 120/8 , South Africa 121/0