A hat-trick by Wanindu Hasaranga and a career-best innings from 23-year-old opener Pathum Nissanka could not stop the South Africans from stealing a hard-fought 4-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their Super 12 game here at the Sharjah Cricket ground yesterday. South Africa needed 31 off the last three overs when Hasaranga, who had removed [...]


Proteas down Lions in nail-biter chase


Pathum Nissanka top scored for Sri Lanka with career best of 72, his second half century of the tournament

A hat-trick by Wanindu Hasaranga and a career-best innings from 23-year-old opener Pathum Nissanka could not stop the South Africans from stealing a hard-fought 4-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their Super 12 game here at the Sharjah Cricket ground yesterday.

South Africa needed 31 off the last three overs when Hasaranga, who had removed a dangerous looking Aiden Markram (19) with his last delivery off the third over, came back to remove skipper Temba Bavuma (46) and Dwaine Pretorius in successive deliveries to put Sri Lanka firmly in control, with South Africa still needing 31 runs off the remaining 16 balls.

The leg-spinner finished with figures of 3 for 20 to leave South Africa needing 25 runs off the last two overs which the Proteas reached with a ball to spare, hitting three sixes and a boundary along the way.

South African batters David Miller and Kagiso Rabada collected 10 runs off the penultimate over bowled by Dushmantha Chameera, the man who dented South Africa’s run chase with two wickets off his second over of the match, including a straight six hit by Rabada to bring the equation down to 15 in six balls.

Miller launched two monstrous sixes after Rabada collected one off the first ball, that sailed over the mid-wicket boundary before he edged the penultimate ball of the innings to bring Sri Lankan players down to their knees.

With this win, South Africa have clinched their last four T20 games against Sri Lanka and put the islanders in a tough position to earn a semi-final spot. With two games left against England and West Indies, Sri Lanka must win both to have any hopes. But given how strong England, their next opponent on Monday at the same venue, are, it will be a herculean task.

The match was equally poised as run-making looked extremely hard on a two-paced wicket where the ball did not come onto the bat as much as the batters would like and with the Sri Lankans doing almost everything right in the field to contain them. If the bowling was creditable, except in the last over, their fielding was electrifying, well led by Dasun Shanaka. His direct hit to run out Rassie van der Dussen was mesmerising as he collected the ball at cover and perfectly aimed at the stump to send der Dussen back to the dressing room.

However, their effort in the field could not take them over the line—a disappointing end to Shanaka’s men who had the match in their hand for most part of South Africa’s run chase.

Hasaranga's hat-trick was overshadowed by the Proteas dominance

Earlier, Pathum Nissanka probably played the best T20 innings of his short 10-match international career—a domineering 72 against South Africa. But the right hander had little support from the rest of Sri Lankan batters as they were folded for 142 within their quota of overs. Nissanka had his opening partner back in the dressing room inside the fourth over when speedster Anrich Nortje rattled his middle stump when Kusal Perera dreadfully attempted to pull him over the leg side boundary.

But Nissanka and one-drop Charith Asalanka consolidated the innings briefly, sharing 41 runs for the second wicket before South Africa inflicted a run-out after batters had collected 14 runs off the first four balls off Keshav Maharaj in the ninth over.

Asalanka pushed the ball to wide-long-on and attempted to steal two runs. A perfect throw from Kagiso Rabada in the deep, however, had him well short of the crease at the striker’s end. Asalanka, who made a career-best unbeaten 80 against Bangladesh a few days back at the same venue, was in sublime form during his little cameo of 35 off 27 (4×4, 1×6) and was threatening for a big score, but his dismissal put pressure back on the Lankans.

Sri Lanka’s middle-order of Bhanuka Rajapaksa (0), Avishka Fernando (3), Wanindu Hasaranga (4) and skipper Shanaka (11) blundered once again, leaving young Nissanka to shoulder the burden of run accumulation.

Tabraiz Shamzi lived up to his reputation of world’s top ranked T20 bowler, bamboozling the hapless Sri Lankan middle-order. Rajapaksa and Fernando were completely deceived by Shamzi as both batsmen offered return catches before Wanindu Hasaranga-the floater, hit straight to Aiden Markram at long on to finish with figures of 3 for 17.

Nissanka, in the role of anchor, played responsibly, rotating the strike and dispatching anything lose to the boundary or over the boundary to contribute more than half of Sri Lanka’s total.

Though diminutive in size, Nissanka lit up the Sharjah track with some beautiful stroke-play that included three sixes and six boundaries before being caught at deep midwicket by Nortje, when he tried to muscle a slow ball from Dwayne Pretorius in the 19th over of the innings. Pretorius also picked up 3 for 17 — Chamika Karunaratne caught at long on by running Van der Dussen and skipper Shanaka, caught at sweeper cover by Rabada. Nortje had Dushmantha Chameera’s stump uprooted to finish with figures of 2 for 27, before Lahiru Kumara was run out, off the last ball of the innings.

Sri Lanka
Pathum Nissanka c Nortje b Pretorius 72
Kusal Perera b Norje 7
Charith Asalanka run out (Rabada/de Kock) 21
Bhanuka Rajapaksa c and b Shamsi 0
Avishka Fernnado c and b Shamsi 4
Wanindu Hasaranga c Markram b Shamsi 4
Dasun Shanaka c Rabada b Pretorius 11
Chamika Karunaratne c Van de Dussen b Preorius 5
Dushmantha Chameera b Nortje 3
Maheesh Theekshana not out 7
Lahiru Kumara run out 0
Extras (lb6, w2) 8
Total (all out; 20 overs) 142
Fall of wicket: 1-20 (Perera, 3.5), 2-61 (Asalanka, 8.5), 3-62 (Rajapaksa, 9.3), 4-77 (Fernando, 11.4), 5-91 (Hasaranga, 13.4), 6-110 (Shanaka, 16.4), 7-131 (Karunaratne, 18.2), 8-131 (Nissanka, 18.4), 9-142 (Chameera, 19.5), 10-141 (Kumara, 19.6)
Bowling: Aiden Markram 2-0-8-0, Kagiso Rabada 3-0-32-0, Anrich Nortje 4-0-27-2, Keshav Maharaj 4-0-34-0, Tabraiz Shamsi 4-0-17-3, Dwaine Pretorius 3-0-17-3
South Africa
Quinton de Kock c and b Chameera 12
Reeza Hendricks lbw b Chameera 11
Rassie Van der Dussen run out (Shanaka) 16
Temba Bavuma c Nissanka b Hasaranga 46
Aiden Markram b Hasaranga 19
David Miller not out 23
Dwayne Pretorius c Rajapaksa b Hasaranga 0
Kagiso Rabada not out 13
Extras (lb3, nb1, w2) 6
Total (6 wickets; 19.5 overs) 146
Did not bat: Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi
Fall of wickets: 1-25 (Hendricks, 3.2), 2-26 (de Kock, 3.4), 3-49 (van der Dussen, 7.6), 4-96 (Markram, 14.6), 5-112 (Bavuma, 17.1), 6-112 (Pretorius, 17.2)
Bowling: Dushmantha Chameera 4-0-27-2, Maheesh Theekshana 4-0-31-0, Lahiru Kumara 3.5-0-35-0, Chamika Karunaratne 3-0-23-0, Wanindu Hasaranga 4-0-20-3

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