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CT 2017, Sri Lanka vs South Africa, 3rd Game, Review: South Africa’s might proved to be too much for Sri Lanka

First it was Amla and then Tahir who made the job easy for South Africa

Hashim Amla of South Africa
Hashim Amla of South Africa. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

It was the 3rd match of the ICC Champions Trophy where South Africa took on Sri Lanka at the Kennington Oval in London. Not too many had given a chance for the Lankans as they had a tough task ahead of facing the strong South African side. As it turned out, South Africa overpowered Sri Lanka in all the three aspects of the game and enforced a rather one-sided victory.

Sri Lanka won the toss and chose to field. It was a slightly early start and there was some assistance on offer for the fast bowlers. Lasith Malinga and Suranga Lakmal began well and hit the correct lines and lengths. They didn’t allow Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla to score freely. The left-handed batsman had a tough time against the slower balls of Malinga and the swing of Lakmal. The score moved to just 32 after 10 overs.

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De Kock’s misery at the crease ended in the 13th over as he nicked one to the keeper off Nuwan Pradeep as he departed for 23 from 42. Hashim Amla was slightly more comfortable at the crease and had settled in. His strokes started to flow in and he struck some delightful boundaries. He found an able partner in Faf du Plessis as they brought up a half-century stand. Amla reached his fifty in the 22nd over and looked in ominous touch. The score reached 130/1 at the halfway stage.

Du Plessis too got to his half-century off 52 balls in the 28th over. All the good work by the bowlers was undone by this partnership that kept flourishing. During the middle overs, the two batsmen focussed on turning the strikes over with the odd boundary here and there. Faf who was looking well set for a century got out in the 34th over to Pradeep.He made 75 off 70 balls and provided the much-needed impetus. AB de Villiers walked in and departed for just 4 runs courtesy Seekkuge Prasanna.

Amla though went on to notch up his 25th ODI century in the 42nd over. David Miller got out the very next ball for 18 off Lakmal. Amla too got out soon for 103 off 115 balls with 5 fours and 2 sixes. JP Duminy made a quickfire 38 off 20 balls and Morris added 20 off 19 balls that propelled the score to 299/6 at the end of 50 overs.

In reply, the Sri Lankan openers came out all guns blazing. Niroshan Dickwella was on the attack from the outset. There was hardly anything on offer for the Proteas’ pacers and the batsmen took full advantage of that. The left-hander provided the perfect start that was required to chase down the big total. The score raced off to 68 after 8 overs but Dickwella lost his wicket in the 9th over to Morne Morkel who was bowling his first over. He scored 41 off 33 balls that included 5 fours and a six.

Upul Tharanga who was a mere spectator until that point came to the fore and struck a couple of boundaries. He was joined by Kusal Mendis who got going without taking up too many deliveries. As another partnership looked like building up, it was cut short by a genius bit of work from de Villiers. He took a stunning one-handed catch at mid-on off Chris Morris to send Mendis packing for 11 in the 12th over. The score read 95/2 after 12 overs and Sri Lanka were still in with a great chance.

But it was AB once again who halted the Sri Lanka’s progress. In the 18th over, Dinesh Chandimal pushed one towards mid-wicket where the South African skipper made a diving stop. Then he collected the ball, dived forward and threw the ball being completely off the ground. The throw hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end where Chandimal was found short and he had to make the long walk back for 12.

Imran Tahir was in the middle of a brilliant spell and accounted for the wickets of Chamara Kapugedera, Upul Tharanga and Asela Gunaratne. All hells broke loose for Sri Lanka as they lost wickets in heaps. Barring Kusal Perera, there was absolutely no resistance shown by the lower order. He fought the lone battle and scored an unbeaten 44 off 66 balls. All the remaining batsmen departed from the other end and left Perera stranded.

Sri Lanka were bowled out for 203 in the 42nd over. What looked like a close match in the making, turned out to be a rather one-sided affair. After being 94/1, the last 9 wickets could add only 109 runs. The credit must go to the South African bowlers who kept chipping away with wickets and enforced a win by 96 runs. South Africa made a terrific start to their campaign and found themselves on the points table.

Brief Scores:

South Africa- 299 for 6 in 50 overs (Hashim Amla 103, Faf du Plessis 75; Nuwan Pradeep 2/54)

Sri Lanka- 203 all out in 41.3 overs (Upul Tharanga 57; Imran Tahir 4/27, Chris Morris 2/32)

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