SA v SL, World T20 2016, Group 1, Delhi March 28, 2016

SA bow out of WT20 with low-key victory

208

South Africa 122 for 2 (Amla 56, Lakmal 1-28) beat Sri Lanka 120 (Dilshan 36, Abbott 2-14) by eight wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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Defending champions Sri Lanka exited the World T20 with defeat in their final appearance. Instead, it was South Africa who left with a consolation win in a contest that lacked intensity as they eased past their opponents, first by restricting Sri Lanka to a small score, and then by clinically chasing it down.

For the first time in this World T20, South Africa's attack had enough slow-bowling options - the two specialist spinners Aaron Phangiso and Imran Tahir, as well as the part-timer Farhaan Behardien - to strangle Sri Lanka's spin-proficient line-up, minus the injured captain Angelo Mathews. South Africa's bowlers left their batsmen a target of 121 and, with the ever-calm Hashim Amla as anchor, they had few problems reaching it.

But the victory will not gloss over the bigger picture and South Africa will still have questions to answer about their performances in earlier matches. Sri Lanka will face the same scrutiny and have the added worry of a new niggle. Lahiru Thirimanne was helped off the field in the 11th over with what seemed like a hamstring strain. Dale Steyn, who spent much of South Africa's summer on the sidelines, may sympathise with him.

After sitting out the last two matches, Steyn was back to lead South Africa's attack. He found early movement, but strayed down the leg side in his first over and came under attack in his second. Dilshan brought out his signature scoop to send Steyn to the boundary before Chandimal hooked and drove with power. With Kyle Abbott doing a decent job at the other end, Faf du Plessis' only choice was to take Steyn out of the attack.

He brought on Aaron Phangiso and at first, it seemed a strange decision. Dilshan would not be tied down by the left-arm spinner, as the batsman slog-swept and charged Phangiso. Chandimal aimed to do the same, but the stand-in Sri Lanka captain's attempt failed when he played for turn to one that stayed straight and Phangiso snuck through the bat-pad gap and onto the stumps.

Phangiso's next delivery did not turn either but Thirimanne, who has been in wretched form, was drawn into the drive and missed. In the space of two balls, Sri Lanka's innings was derailed, South Africa were in control and Phangiso was on a hat-trick.

Having seen success through spin, South Africa continued with it and Tahir was brought on in the Powerplay. Dilshan and Milinda Siriwardana were forced to be more watchful. In frustration, Siriwardana tried to force a single off Phangiso but chanced the arm of du Plessis to his peril. South Africa dragged Sri Lanka back from a speedy start - after 45 runs came off the first five overs, only 32 came off the next five.

To strangle them further, Behardien was asked to bowl and his pace off the ball drew Shehan Jayasuriya into a uppish drive to gift du Plessis a catch in the covers. Behardien proved his shrewdness when he had Dilshan trapped lbw and Tahir followed up by bowling Chamara Kapugedera with a googly in a four-over period during which South Africa conceded just 14 runs.

Sri Lanka enjoyed some reprieve when Steyn returned but even not at his best, he had some joy. Steyn was doing his best to get the ball to stick in the pitch and when he did, Thisara Perera was drawn into a stroke early and offered a catch to cover. Sri Lanka were seven down and had yet to reach 100 with four overs left. Dasun Shanaka tried to accelerate, but he ran out of partners before the innings was up.

If Sri Lanka suspected they did not have enough runs, South Africa's start, even against spin, would have confirmed that. Quinton de Kock threw his bat at two of the first three deliveries, bowled by Jayasuriya, and found the boundary both times. But his haste was short-lived. In the next over, de Kock wanted a single that Amla had no interest in, and was run out.

The early breakthrough gave Sri Lanka some hope and Chandimal played his hand early. Rangana Herath bowled the third over and Amla and du Plessis treated him with requisite respect, but where they could, they scored. Amla used his wrists to whip Herath off his toes and to the boundary, easing the pressure on du Plessis, who took his time to settle.

Three overs went by without a boundary before du Plessis swept Herath and then Vandersay to keep South Africa on track. South Africa's slow-burn was only ignited when du Plessis was given out lbw off Lakmal and the batsman showed some irritation to indicate he thought the ball had met the toe-end of the bat. However, the Feroz Shah Kotla crowd did not mind seeing the end of him, as the wicket brought AB de Villiers to the crease.

"AB, AB," resonated around the stadium, even though their favourite player operated largely in a supporting role. De Villiers was a spectator as Amla brought up 1000 T20I runs and his second fifty of the tournament, but there was still a bit for him to do. De Villiers struck a six off Shanaka before hitting the winning runs in similar style off Lakmal, with 2.2 overs to spare.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kimbo001 on March 31, 2016, 11:29 GMT

    England game SA got 229. SA could have got close to 250 if Faf the captain let Duminy and Miller bat ahead of him, game over. The extras, namely the wides were a disgrace, trying to bowl to fast which is not required on Indian pitches, shows poorly prepared and poor leadership from SA.

  • Kimbo001 on March 31, 2016, 10:52 GMT

    SA claim to be well prepared and ready for the big cricket events yet they always seem to beat themselves in the games that really count. My opinion SA have not got the confidence to play attacking wining cricket, they think the other teams will beat themselves sadly it is SA who always seem to fold or play so,conservatively giving the opponent the opening they need. You have to play positive cricket like England did against New Zealand. New Zealand had the form England had the heart, skill and confidence to play attacking positive cricket. Who won!!!

  • nickexplore on March 31, 2016, 3:31 GMT

    The selection shambles on the eve of World T20 cost SL dearly. The time to sack the selectors was after the Asia Cup debacle, not the day before the team left for India. And not after they have chosen the squad - just because you don't like the squad Kapila and co. chose, or their choice of captain, Dinesh Chandimal. Tellingly, the Aravinda-led panel made just two changes to the original squad - Thirimanne and Lakmal for Dickwella and Vandersay - and agreed to the change of captain from Chandimal to Mathews. Later, as we know, recalling Vandersay for the injured Malinga. While Aravinda, Sangakkara and co. crucial decision to play Thirimanne at 3 three times, and at 4 once, proved fatal to Sri Lanka's chances. Kapila Wijegunawardena, Amal Silva, Brendon Kuruppu plus.. chose a good squad in the first place, only to see their team selection hijacked from above, and SLs World T20 title defence dashed on the rocks.

  • SLMaster on March 30, 2016, 17:16 GMT

    Waqar has delivered 6 page report and 12 action items to PCB. I think SLC should get a copy of it apply it too. Well fit to SLC as well.

  • Gforcebuster on March 30, 2016, 12:40 GMT

    @DMCK: U are wrong...

    Upul Tharanga is the only front line batter SL have with numerous match defining innings, 6,500+ international runs and 48 fifty plus scores including 14 tons. UT had 11 MOM awards (his last MOM award was just 3 weeks before laying off for 3 yrs in July 2013). It is high time to bring him back. He was absurdly overlooked for nearly 3 yrs with less than a handful of random chances allowed to him despite being a Test series winning highest contributor in the decider (93 & 45) Vs Pk Aug 2014 (during the SOLITARY stint of 4 consecutive matches given to him in any format since July 2013 ).

    On the other hand Thiri, Chandimal, Kusal Perera & the rest were given 50+ consecutive chances in every format, despite repeated failures. Kapugedara, Mubarak, Thiri, Chandi, Kusal Perera had never materialized match defining consistent performances to justify their constant failures or justify the freely granted 50+ consecutive chances over past few years.

    Recall Tharanga.

  • Gforcebuster on March 30, 2016, 12:26 GMT

    @DMCK: Upul Tharanga is the only front line batter SL have with 6,500+ international runs and 48 fifty plus scores including 14 tons. UT had 11 MOM awards (his last MOM award was just 3 weeks before laying off for 3 yrs in July 2013) & numerous match defining innings. It is high time to bring him back. He was absurdly overlooked for nearly 3 yrs with less than a handful of random chances allowed to him despite materializing a Test series winning highest contributor in the decider (93 & 45) Vs Pk Aug 2014 (during the SOLITARY stint of 4 consecutive matches given to him in any format since July 2013 ).

    On the other hand Thiri, Chandimal, Kusal Perera & the rest were given 50+ consecutive chances in every format, despite repeated failures. Kapugedara, Mubarak, Thiri, Chandi, Kusal Perera had never materialized match defining consistent performances to justify their constant failures or justify the freely granted 50+ consecutive chances over past few years.

    Recall Tharanga.!!!

  • NujSl on March 30, 2016, 10:18 GMT

    @VKOHLITHEGREAT mate What i am telling is when you compare the SL with those countries you mentioned we had achieved a lot, of course Afghanistan is playing good but they will be so strong within few more years or a decade , if fans are agree with you as you said if you have been playing for a notable period then you must achieve a lot than what you had done in the past then why India could not achieved as much as Australia ,India is my second favorite team after SL, but fans like you make hate ,

  • jayfredy on March 30, 2016, 3:52 GMT

    Malinga will be fit to play IPL

  • DMCK on March 30, 2016, 3:12 GMT

    We should Chose players based on their strengths for a particular format. Chandimal for tests and ODI's only. No 20/20. Thirimanna only for ODI;s no tests and No 20/20. Kapu only odi. their statistics have proven this already.

  • DMCK on March 30, 2016, 3:00 GMT

    It is time for Sri Lanka to look for players beyond Thirimanne, Chandimal, Kapugedara, Upul Tharanga and Mubarak. SL always will replace one with another. All of them have reasonably lot of international experience (except Mubarak) with them and hardly done any justice. How many match defining innings have they played ? on the other hand looking at players like Root, Kane Willimson, Steve Smith orf Matthews who have similar experience, we can see the difference. If SL are to do well we need to find better batsmen. Also we need a new captain. Matthews will not win too many games based on his captaincy.

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