ICC World Twenty20 - 7th match, Group C

Sri Lanka v South Africa

South Africa won by 32 runs

6pm Finally, finally...out come Richard Levi and Hashim Amla... surprising perhaps? Bigger hitters available...Nuwan Kulasekara to open the bowling...

5.58pm Come on!!! Two minutes till the first ball and we've still got the Sri Lankan anthem going on...heavens that is too long...what's the betting rain returns with 4.4 overs bowled in the second innings!

5.50pm South Africa have made the one change from the hammering of Zimbabwe, with Faf du Plessis coming in for Robin Peterson. Sri Lanka leave out Ajantha Mendis because he has a side strain and Rangana Herath replaces him. About to start but, of course, we have to have the national anthems before we can begin, even if we have waited two and a half hours for some cricket...not that we haven't heard them two days ago of course...

5.45pm Huge cheers on the terraces as Sri Lanka win the toss and choose to bowl, Mahela Jayawardene reckons that's the best tactic in this short game. AB de Villiers reckons his side are better prepared for a shorter game due to those two reduced T20s in England recently. Just to confirm it's 7-overs a side, 2-over Powerplay, and two bowlers can bowl two overs and three can bowl one over.

5.40pm So almost time for the toss. "There is nothing 'right' about a 7 over game," says Andrew. "This is the game we all wanted to see and now it will be a total farce. Realistically anything less than 10 overs doesn't give anyone value for money." I think I agree. In the washed out T20 between England and South Africa at Old Trafford, they didn't return spectator's money even though only 13.1 overs were bowled and there was no result. Admittedly, Lancashire did offer a voucher for spectators for a different game.

5.30pm Murmurings of a 6pm start time according to Sanjay Manjrekar and a 7-over aside match reckons Russel Arnold. We await official confirmation but that seems about right...in fact we have it as gospel now, 5.45pm toss, 6pm start time, 7-overs apiece, 2-over Powerplay.

5.20pm Still awaiting news of what kind of game we can get in today, the umpires are out on the ground having a look. So before any cricket starts I'll point you towards the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend, qualifying for which starts at 6.30pm IST and full coverage is over on ESPN F1. Sebastian Vettel has gone quickest in the three practice sessions so far.

"Apart from stringent ICC regulations, is there some logistical problem with extending the time to fit a full game if both captains want to? If the captains and the umps have no issues with it, what's the harm?" I can only suggest Mihir that the strict regs are in for television schedules. They wouldn't want today's games to overlap. Plus, would both captains today be overly keen for a full match? I would suggest they're not bothered.

5pm Well now, touch wood, things are looking very positive, the rain has cleared, the skies are bright, the rain has been cleared from the covers and they are being dragged off. Underneath looks nice and dry too so hopefully we should get some cricket in the not too distant future. A sell-out crowd of 34,000 awaits...

"Why cant they do the toss indoors and get it done with as soon as the rain stops and they can start playing instantly without wasting time?" Because that, Viru, would be far too sensible for the strict rigorous scheduling of cricket...and to be fair i'm sure the captains want to look at the pitch before deciding what to do.

4.50pm Good news, the rain has stopped and the covers are coming off...but we've heard that before today so how long this positivity lasts remains to be seen. Anywho, while you wait have a giggle with the Two Chucks' unique take on Afghanistan's flop yesterday. And to really get stuck in with Afghani analysis, head over to The Cricket Sadist Hour for Jarrod Kimber's thoughts.

4.35pm Hello everyone, Alex Winter here, hope you're all better than the weather at the moment. Still some drizzle in the air in Hambantota so no sign yet of when we can get this game started, which is a great shame. But fear not, because ESPNcricinfo is packed full of entertainment and this Rewind by Martin Williamson provides a look back at Geoffrey Boycott's 246 against India at Headingley in 1967, after which he was dropped for scoring too slowly!

4.20 pm Got our hopes up and now this. Covers going back on because there's a light drizzle. The clouds are looking threatening again, says Andrew Fernando.

Stark: "This tournament couldn't have got off to a worse start. Cricket on the field has been very one-sided, hence making it boring, the crowds haven't come in and when the big game arrives, IT RAINS!!"

I'm going to step away for a bit and hand over the commentary to Alex Winter.

4.15 pm And the covers are coming off, says Andrew Fernando from Hambantota. The latest a 5-overs-a-side game can start is 6.10 pm. So if there's no more rain, we should get some cricket, provided the ground beneath those covers is dry.

"Drainage, I'm told, is excellent here," says Andrew Fernando. "And that's not hard to believe either." No reason it shouldn't be, this stadium is very new.

4.00 pm Not raining at present but the groundstaff aren't beginning to remove the covers just yet. They are just standing around. It's possible that there's some more rain on it's way. I'll let you know as soon as those covers begin to come off.

3.50 pm: "I hope we can get a full, or nearly full game in. An 8 or 10 over a side slog would not really tell us much about the two sides. This is an interesting match-up: Sri Lankan spin and flair v South African pace and solidity. Hard to call, but I would favour South Africa to edge it," says Mark Kidger.

This, by the way, is the first Twenty20 international between Sri Lanka and South Africa.

3.35 pm Sanjay Manjrekar, on Twitter, says: "Rain has stopped in Hambantota ... sky looking clearer ... now time for the groundsmen to earn their wages." That's encouraging news. The whole ground was covered so they don't have to worry about drying it, as long as they don't spill any water that's on the covers.

3.15 pm Andrew Fernando, our reporter at the ground, says it's still raining. The stadium in Hambantota holds about 34,000 and apparently it was sold out for this game too. We haven't had a full house yet in this tournament. Also, this is the area's first proper rain in eight months. Some timing.

Okay, a correction, the latest start time for a 5-over game might not be 5.30 pm. It may be later than that, possibly 6.15 pm. Will bring you confirmation on that as soon as I know.

BJ: "It figures - we finally get to a mouth-watering encounter in this tournament, only for Mother Nature to decide to have a sense of humour. Doesn't affect my fantasy team too much though, I've only got Amla in this match."

2.55 pm Bucketing down in Hambantota. The entire ground is covered. The latest a five-over game can start is 5.30 pm local time, FYI.

2.35 pm It's still raining in Hambantota. I guess expecting dramatic improvement in ten minutes was a little optimistic. A crying shame that the first marquee match in the group stage is being subjected to such weather. It's pretty heavy rain, too. Not good at all.

2.25 pm Good afternoon and welcome to ESPNcricinfo's ball-by-ball coverage of the final group C match, between Sri Lanka and South Africa in Hambantota. Both teams have progressed to the Super Eights, after thumping Zimbabwe, and the result of this match will not affect which group the teams are in during the next round either.

Now for the not-so-good news. It's been raining in Hambantota and the square is covered. The forecast isn't too good and the start could be delayed. This is disappointing news, and not just because I have six players from South Africa and Sri Lanka in my Fantasy team. Note to self, make transfers only after checking the weather report. More weather updates as and when I get them.

0.1

Kulasekara to Levi, 2 runs, full length ball around off stump, a nervy forward push comes off an inside edge past backward square and runs out for two runs as deep square runs to his right

0.2

Kulasekara to Levi, no run, shorter and pulled off the toe of the bat on the bounce to mid on, just short of him

0.3

Kulasekara to Levi, 2 runs, flicked through square leg and the outfield is pretty slow so just a couple again to the backward square rope

0.4

Kulasekara to Levi, OUT, slower ball, chipped into the leg side off the toe of the bat, and a superb diving catch going back from mid on. Brilliant take, diving backwards at full length and claiming it with two hands. The slower ball deceived Levi who was backing away trying to give himself room, ended up being too soon with the shot and chipped it up

RE Levi c Munaweera b Kulasekara 4 (2m 4b 0x4 0x6) SR: 100.00

0.5

Kulasekara to Amla, FOUR, length ball just outside off, crashed over cover point for four, up and over with good timing from off stump, moving slightly to leg

Man goes back to the cover fence...

0.6

Kulasekara to Amla, 1 run, full and carved out to the sweeper

End of over 1 (9 runs) South Africa 9/1
HM Amla    5* (2b 1x4)      KMDN Kulasekara    1-0-9-1
F du Plessis    0* (0b)     

Now comes Lasith Malinga, he'll surely bowl a couple of overs, this is the last Powerplay over...

1.1

Malinga to Amla, FOUR, length ball outside off, smashed with great timing again over extra cover, beautifully played

1.2

Malinga to Amla, 1 run, fast and full onto off stump, turned to deep midwicket for just a single

du Plessis at No. 3...

1.3

Malinga to du Plessis, 1 run, full toss on the off stump but just calmly blocked to point, there's a fumble so they scramble through for a single

1.4

Malinga to Amla, FOUR, half volley on the off stump, Amla opens the front leg and smashed it over extra cover again, gorgeous strike once more, the timing is absolutely to perfection, has this guy scored any runs recently? Looks in good form

1.5

Malinga to Amla, 1 wide, full toss down the leg side as Amla stepped to the off side to try and beat short long leg

1.5

Malinga to Amla, no run, step to the leg side and then back to the stumps, length ball outside off, a play and miss, no need for that, stand still and whack it

1.6

Malinga to Amla, 1 run, another step to leg, Malinga follows him with a quick yorker length ball that's dug out to short long leg, well bowled that

End of over 2 (12 runs) South Africa 21/1
HM Amla    15* (7b 3x4)      SL Malinga    1-0-12-0
F du Plessis    1* (1b)      KMDN Kulasekara    1-0-9-1

"So much for Amla not being a big hitter. Only difference is that his hitting isnt agricultural." Exactly, Tony, there is a place for conventional batting in T20, especially when you're in form like Amla...Herath now...

2.1

Herath to Amla, 1 run, down the wicket and slapping a length ball down to long off

2.2

Herath to du Plessis, 2 runs, leg stump, turned to leg where everyone is out on the boundary so they take two

2.3

Herath to du Plessis, no run, tossed up outside off, down the wicket and just keeps it out back to the bowler on the stretch

2.4

Herath to du Plessis, 2 runs, reached for again but pushed towards deep point, more great running

2.5

Herath to du Plessis, 1 run, waited for and pushed out to the cover sweeper

2.6

Herath to Amla, OUT, down the wicket, now this is agricultural, misses completely and Sangakkara has the bails off before Amla can even say, "oh dear", I think this 7-7 stuff has gone to Amla's head, just play properly! But he's gone swinging, missing totally a ball that was angled in and beat him as he backed away and it went past leg stump

HM Amla st †Sangakkara b Herath 16 (14m 9b 3x4 0x6) SR: 177.77

End of over 3 (6 runs) South Africa 27/2
     HMRKB Herath    1-0-6-1
F du Plessis    6* (5b)      SL Malinga    1-0-12-0

Angelo Matthews now...

3.1

Mathews to du Plessis, 1 run, back of a length around off stump, blocked into the covers

3.2

Mathews to de Villiers, 2 runs, back of a length outside off, cut wide of deep cover so they take two easily

3.3

Mathews to de Villiers, 1 run, similar line, pulled straight to the fielder who shies at the non-striker's end and misses, a hit and he was gone

3.4

Mathews to du Plessis, no run, swing and a miss to a back of a length ball outside off

3.5

Mathews to du Plessis, 3 runs, outside off and timed nicely off the back foot, a great diving save from deep cover saves four but great running again means they take a third on the arm

3.6

Mathews to de Villiers, 1 run, step to leg, followed him on back of a length, pulled towards square leg not timed

End of over 4 (8 runs) South Africa 35/2
AB de Villiers    4* (3b)      AD Mathews    1-0-8-0
F du Plessis    10* (8b)      HMRKB Herath    1-0-6-1

Anyone have a clue what a good score is? I couldn't even offer up a figure...

4.1

Herath to de Villiers, FOUR, reverse sweep and gets it over point, well timed and it runs out to the boundary past the sweeper

4.2

Herath to de Villiers, 1 run, goes on side this time to a fuller ball, played to long on

4.3

Herath to du Plessis, 1 run, heaved down to long leg again

4.4

Herath to de Villiers, SIX, more length this time and heaved off the back foot wide of long on for the first maximum, great strike

4.5

Herath to de Villiers, 1 run, full and driven to extra cover, a sliding save

4.6

Herath to du Plessis, 2 runs, lifted down to long on and more aggressive running brings a couple

End of over 5 (15 runs) South Africa 50/2
F du Plessis    13* (10b)      HMRKB Herath    2-0-21-1
AB de Villiers    16* (7b 1x4 1x6)      AD Mathews    1-0-8-0

Judging by the feedback, you guys have no idea either what a good score is! Malinga's second over here...

5.1

Malinga to de Villiers, 1 wide, full ball swinging away from off stump, swings too much

5.1

Malinga to de Villiers, SIX, short ball and a wonderful strike, smashed over midwicket, that has gone a long long way back, huge strike, stepped across the off stump a little and then bang over the rope

5.2

Malinga to de Villiers, 2 runs, full ball on off stump, tries to go off side and just gets it over extra cover

5.3

Malinga to de Villiers, 2 runs, length this time on off stump, a swing gets a wild edge to third man and Kulasekara does really well to save four with a left hand

5.4

Malinga to de Villiers, 2 runs, over extra cover again, and again doesn't get all of it, just over the fielders

5.5

Malinga to de Villiers, 2 runs, full outside off again, reaching for it slightly, slapped over extra cover, not timed though, but they run well again

5.6

Malinga to de Villiers, OUT, stepped across the stumps, full again, chipped to mid off, didn't time it at all, straight to the fielder

AB de Villiers c Mendis b Malinga 30 (15m 13b 1x4 2x6) SR: 230.76

End of over 6 (15 runs) South Africa 65/3
     SL Malinga    2-0-27-1
F du Plessis    13* (10b)      HMRKB Herath    2-0-21-1

Top knock from de Villiers and suddenly we have the final over of the innings and Thisara Perera to bowl it...

6.1

Perera to Duminy, 2 runs, full on off stump, flicked out to the midwicket boundary, again the running is exactly how it needs to be

6.2

Perera to Duminy, no run, great yorker and dug back to the bowler

6.3

Perera to Duminy, 1 leg bye, good length again, goes for the paddle sweep, comes off the pad towards square leg

6.4

Perera to du Plessis, OUT, full just outside off, struck down the ground but doesn't clear long off, looked a good strike but it was taken right on the rope

F du Plessis c Mendis b Perera 13 (29m 11b 0x4 0x6) SR: 118.18

6.5

Perera to Duminy, FOUR, full ball again and this time Duminy pulls off the scoop and it lands very close to the long leg rope, nearly got it all the way, very well played that was

6.6

Perera to Duminy, SIX, length on off stump and a superb strike straight down the ground carries all the way for six, great connection and it flies over long on

6.40pm Consensus is that this is a pretty good score but an even spread on who's going to win it. Just to clarify, normal rules apply if it does rain again, so we need five overs of the second innings for a result here. Heaven knows what Duckworth Lewis would make of a seven-over contest...

So a brilliant end to the innings for South Africa, this will take some chasing in just seven overs, no time to waste any deliveries. AB de Villiers played a great hand and Duminy finished the overs off really well. Now it shouldn't be too long a break between innings but in this tournament, who knows what it going to happen...

End of over 7 (13 runs) South Africa 78/4
JP Duminy    12* (5b 1x4 1x6)      NLTC Perera    1-0-12-1
JA Morkel    0* (0b)      SL Malinga    2-0-27-1
Tournament Results
Sri Lanka v West Indies at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 7, 2012
West Indies won by 36 runs
Australia v West Indies at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 5, 2012
West Indies won by 74 runs
Sri Lanka v Pakistan at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 4, 2012
Sri Lanka won by 16 runs
India v South Africa at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 2, 2012
India won by 1 run
Australia v Pakistan at Colombo (RPS) - Oct 2, 2012
Pakistan won by 32 runs
More results »

Photos

Sep 22, 2012

South Africa celebrate a wicket, Sri Lanka v South Africa, World Twenty20 2012, Group C, Hambantota, September 22, 2012

South Africa celebrate a wicket

© Associated Press

Sep 22, 2012

Kumar Sangakkara was Sri Lanka's joint-highest scorer with 13, Sri Lanka v South Africa, World Twenty20 2012, Group C, Hambantota, September 22, 2012

Kumar Sangakkara was Sri Lanka's joint-highest scorer with 13

© Associated Press

All photos for this match | Galleries