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

AB de Villiers leads an animated team talk

Plays of the day from the World T20 match between South Africa and Sri Lanka in Delhi
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Jeffrey Vandersay nearly plucked out a stunner at short extra cover © AFP

The speech

Team huddles have become customary at the start of an innings, when the captain usually delivers his final words before the action gets underway, but this one was different. As South Africa prepared for their final appearance at this World T20, it was AB de Villiers, the ODI and Test captain, and not Faf du Plessis, the T20 captain, who did the talking. De Villiers led an animated talk in which the only words the television microphones could pick up were "energy, boys, energy," but, with rumours swirling about de Villiers' international workload, it aroused suspicions of his international future.

The advice that should have been heeded

Tillakaratne Dilshan wanted to bow out with a bang and had helped take Sri Lanka to 45 without loss by the fifth over. He took on both the quicks and the slower bowlers, and seemed to be in control. But his partner and stand-in captain Dinesh Chandimal couldn't keep up when the pace was taken off the ball. He went for an expansive cover drive without moving his front foot across off the first delivery he faced from Aaron Phangiso. The ball went straight on, snuck between bat and pad and rattled Chandimal's stumps. Dilshan had a few things to say as he walked off but whatever it was, it was too late.

The secret weapon

Farhaan Behardien is South Africa's most underrated cricketer, but he showed his value with the ball today. After being gifted an opening wicket, Behardien thought he had the biggest scalp when Dilshan tried a switch hit but was struck on the pads. Umpire S Ravi rightly thought the ball was sliding down leg but Behardien got his own back. Dilshan brought out a conventional sweep off the next ball and missed again. He was hit in front and Ravi had no doubt that would have gone on to his the stumps, so Dilshan was sent on his way.

The carelessness

Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock were involved in a run-out in the previous match against West Indies, which saw Amla lose his wicket, but the pair had not learnt from their mistakes. Amla played a Suranga Lakmal delivery to Dilshan at backward point, took a step forward and then decided against the run, but de Kock was not paying attention. He has halfway down the pitch and then turned back without much haste when he saw Amla's disinterest. Dilshan had already collected and released the ball and his direct hit took out middle stump at the non-striker's end with de Kock nowhere near his ground.

The near blinder

Both teams were playing a match that could have been; it could have been a shoot-out for the semi-finals. Both South Africa and Sri Lanka, however, were knocked out before the last league match of the tournament. In keeping with the mood, a catch that should have been the grab of the tournament was not. Amla had offered half a chance to Lahiru Thirimanne at midwicket the ball before he drove one uppishly to Jeffrey Vandersay at short extra cover. It was hit hard but Vandersay gave it everything. He leapt to his right and got his fingers to the ball, but could not hold on.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Vinod on March 29, 2016, 11:40 GMT

    AB was not in his real self. he didn't look enthusiastic throughout the tour and it was not giving a good feel to us. except QDK, none seemed to have been enjoying the tour.

  • Nirav on March 29, 2016, 10:26 GMT

    I am sure many people would've observed something was not right between AB & Faf in this entire tournament & AB body language was all time down; he just wasn't present in this tournament. It was De Kock who was on the roll, he is one little cutie.

  • grant on March 29, 2016, 9:07 GMT

    My problem with AB is he plays risky shots too early. He must give himself a few overs to play him in like Virat does. Try to stay till the end. In ODI's he do it but 20/20 he is just going from an early stage. And mostly loose his wicket.

  • Prasad on March 29, 2016, 6:51 GMT

    If workload is the issue for ABD, why not take a break from IPL. I believe playing 14-15 matches within 2 months, constant travelling and peak summer of India in April/May significantly adds to the workload, no? Why not to rest and rejuvenate in these 2 months,,,but we are in 2016, the modern age of cricket and that will not happen..

  •   Zero-Ek Deewana on March 29, 2016, 6:25 GMT

    AB needs to stay we all know he's a big match player

  • Debra on March 29, 2016, 4:37 GMT

    reminds me of the late Ritchie Benaud to Michael Slater in the commentary box: "Ooooo," said Slats, "that just snuck under Lara's bat... er Rich, is there the word 'snuck' in the English language?" Benaud paused the immortal pause before bring the microphone to his lips. "I can think of one or two 'ucks' in the English language, Michael, but 'snuh' isn't amongst them!"

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/859817.html

  • Swami on March 29, 2016, 1:28 GMT

    I dont understand the workload complaint of ABD. He no longer keeps and South Africa plays far less cricket than India. He should be happy to represent his country and win a world cup for them.

  • Sanjeeth on March 28, 2016, 20:22 GMT

    AB is always a legend no doubt in it. Sometimes luck should favor you in T20 cricket.

  • blahblah1234567_9F5B2346-4AB1-446E-A1A0-77E2268CE43B on March 28, 2016, 18:12 GMT

    Whats with openers running each other out guptill KW rohit dhawan now amla QDK... should practise running with each other lol

  •   Bishwash Lamichhane on March 28, 2016, 18:02 GMT

    @ab Mathew...Lara as well no ? Haha...may be even Lionel messi ? Lol ...ab don't need any trophy to become a legend

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