South Africa ended a disappointing tournament on a bright note, overcoming Sri Lanka by eight wickets in the last league match of the tournament at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi. After the bowlers restricted the Sri Lankans to merely 120, South Africa again lost an early wicket through a run-out. This time it was Quinton de Kock, with Hashim Amla at the other end. But, Amla eased his way to an unbeaten 56 from 52, and featured in a steadying second-wicket stand of 60 with skipper Faf du Plessis. After his dismissal, AB de Villiers came in and chipped in with 20 from 12, with two sixes as Proteas eased home to victory.
Batting first, Sri Lanka were cleaned up for 120 in the 20th over. South Africa won the chose, and chose to field, and the South African bowlers came to the party, restricting the Lankans. Farhaan Behardien was the star of the show, surprising the opposition with two crucial wickets, that of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Shehan Jayasuriya. Aaron Phangiso and Kyle Abbott also claimed two wickets while comeback man Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir chipped in with one each. Dilshan top-scored for his team with 36, but Sri Lanka stumbled later, and it was only Dasun Shanaka’s quick cameo that took them to 120.
Sri Lanka got off to a terrific start, with the opening pair adding 45 in 4.5 overs, but Dinesh Chandimal again fell after getting a start, and it allowed South Africa to come back into the game. From 45 for 1, they soon crumbled to 96 for 7, and there was no way back for the men from the island nation. Four among the top and middle order batsmen fell in single figure scores. Shanaka smashed a six and four towards the end, and ended on 20 not out from 18. Still, Sri Lanka were bowled out three balls before their allocated quota.
The start for Lanka was much impressive as Dilshan and Chandimal combined to take 16 runs from Steyn’s second over. Dilshan scooped one for four before Chandimal hooked one for six and crashed a length ball over long-on. Dilshan then slog swept Phangiso for four and then launched him for a six over long on. Phangiso finally struck when he beat stand-in skipper Chandimal with a quicker ball that beat his defence. Lahiru Thirimanne fell first ball, a cover drive ending in him getting bowled. Wickets kept falling, and eventually Dilshan too gave up, trapped in front by Behardien as he missed a sweep.
--By A Cricket Correspondent