T20 World Cup 2021: Match 25, South Africa vs Sri Lanka – Who Said What

T20 World Cup 2021: Match 25, South Africa vs Sri Lanka – Who Said What

South Africa clinched a thriller against Sri Lanka to force themselves into the semi-final race in an increasingly complicated pool of teams.

David Miller and Kagiso Rabada
David Miller and Kagiso Rabada. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

For all that has been going around South Africa and their cricket, the team has done commendably well, as they now find themselves into the semi-final reckoning alongside toppers Australia and England in an increasingly complicated pool of teams.

Chasing 143 against Sri Lanka in Sharjah, they were down and out during the chase many times but they did not let the spirit die until the last moment, as even a hat-trick from Wanindu Hasaranga could not deny them a victory. South Africa were rocked twice by Dushmantha Chameera (2/27) early on in their chase who sent back Quinton de Kock and Reeza Hendricks in a space of two balls.

Rassie van der Dussen fell to a mix-up, run-out for 16 off 11, with Temba Bavuma holding the fort from his end. Not one of the most ballistic going around, Bavuma was thwarted by the regular fall of wickets from the other end, scoring 46 off as many deliveries, whereas Aiden Markram, equally sedate, scored a 20-ball 19. A par target meant the required rate did not go too far beyond South Africa’s reach, although that changed once Hasaranga (3/20) conjured what looked like a match-turning performance.

He cleaned up Markram in the 15th over before returning to remove Bavuma and Dwaine Pretorious off successive deliveries in the 18th to cap off his hat-trick. Having reduced South Africa to 112/6 in the 18th over, Sri Lanka surely fancied a chance to pull things back, but David Miller (23 off 13) and Kagiso Rabada (13 off 7) had other plans. Rabada smacked Chameera for six in the penultimate over but still left 15 needed off the last over by Lahiru Kumara.

Coming after an expensive wicketless outing in the previous game, Kumara found himself again in the line of fire after bowling in Miller’s arc who responded with consecutive sixes before Rabada edged him for a boundary to seal the deal by four wickets with a ball left in the bank.

Earlier, Sri Lanka were dragged to 142 by the toilsome efforts of Pathum Nissanka, who stood like a lone warrior amid his partners falling like nine pins. Nissanka struck six boundaries and three sixes in his 58-ball stay, scoring more than half the runs his side eventually managed. He perished no sooner than the penultimate over, holing out in the deep for 72 when the second-highest scorer in the lineup was Charith Asalanka 21 off 14.

Sri Lanka were crushed by Tabraiz Shamsi and Pretorious, who combined bagged 6 wickets for 34 runs in their seven overs. Shamsi, in the process, also broke the record to bag most wickets in a calendar year in T20Is, sitting with 32 scalps in 2021 with still a couple of months left. Barring Nissanka and Asalanka, only Dasun Shanaka could even manage to get into double digits, ensuring that South Africa had only a par total to chase.

Losing skipper Daun Shanaka:

It was enough to defend for Kumara. He was nailing his yorkers, so I thought he was dependable. Credit to how the South African batsmen played under pressure. We had Wanindu for the death too, but we used him up before. Nissanka was fantastic and we know that he’s a bright prospect for Sri Lankan cricket. It’s difficult for us after this, but we have to keep fighting.

Winning skipper Temba Bavuma: 

It’s hard to keep everything at the back of my mind, and we had a job to do. We took it deep and it was a good thing that we managed to get over the line. David hasn’t done that for us in a while, and it’s great that he came good at the right time. Shamsi is a good player for us, he’s been effective all over the world in this format and he’s been doing this for quite a while now. I took on the responsibility to soak the pressure. The shot was on, but I am a bit annoyed that I couldn’t execute it well enough.

Player of the Match Tabraiz Shamsi:

My first Man of the Match trophy in the World Cup, so it’s a special moment, but not to take anything away from Nortje, Markram, Miller and Rabada, they played their parts really well. I haven’t had a great number of chances previously, but I kept working hard, was looking to do something special, try and win games for the country. The number one rank doesn’t really matter for me,  I’m just glad that I am bowling well, we have one of the finest bowling attacks in the world and I’m just happy to be part of it.