The wicket everyone wanted that wasn't
With AB de Villiers pencilled in at No.3, even the home crowd wanted the opening partnership to end as soon as possible but it started off strongly. Jon-Jon Smuts and Reeza Hendricks took 22 runs off the first two overs before Isuru Udana did is best to separate them. Smuts went after a slower ball and hit it high with the intention to clear long-on. In gusty conditions, the ball could not make the distance and Thikshila de Silva at mid-on was in position to take the catch. He steadied himself and had the ball in his hands but at the least second, it burst through and the Newlands faithful were denied an early sighting of de Villiers.
Ten balls after Smuts was dropped, he was given out lbw off Seekkuge Prasanna and the moment de Villiers' fans have spent the last six months waiting for arrived. A sell-out stadium roared as he skipped onto the turf, hands cradling his bat in both hands as he stretched his arms up and down. De Villiers did a few customary swings of the arm and a few leg lifts on his way to the crease before taking guard to face his first international delivery since June 24, 2016.
The moment it ended
With de Villiers' striking at close to 150 it was not unthinkable that a century on comeback was on the cards and it seemed to be on de Villiers' mind too. He lashed out at a low full toss from Nuwan Kulasekara off the first ball of the 18th over, intending to thread it past point, but found the fielder. Upul Tharanga seemed surprised at how quickly the ball came his way and initially palmed it up in what looked like self-defence but quickly recovered to take the catch on the second attempt. De Villiers watched the juggle and was furious at the result. He smacked his bat on the pitch in frustration, as if to say, "Why did it all have to be over so soon?"
A final over nightmare for Udana, who had been hit for three sixes off his first four balls by Mangaliso Mosehle, became even worse when his team-mates botched a catch that three of them could have taken. Mosehle heaved the penultimate ball of the over into the air. Dinesh Chandimal and two fielders closed in on it and Kulasekara had the best chance of getting to it but poor calling left all of them looking at each other and the ball fell in the middle.
If Sri Lanka thought they had squandered chances, they may take solace in South Africa's fielding performance. The hosts put down five catches in total - with another sailing over Imran Tahir's head at third man - including three in three balls in Wayne Parnell's second over. First, Paterson grassed one at fine leg when Dhananjaya de Silva got a top-edge off pull and then Mosehle could not hold on when Dickwella gloved a bouncer just over him. Parnell was furious but then had only himself to blame when Dickwella top-edged back to him and he mistimed his jump in his follow through and the ball went over his head instead of into his hand.
The early celebration
Prasanna swung the match Sri Lanka's way, firstly by taking on Wayne Parnell, but it was Asela Gunaratne who was the hero in the final. He scooped Dane Paterson for a first-ball boundary to give Sri Lanka some breathing space then found the boundary again when he top edge over the keeper. It levelled the score, but Gunaratne thought it was the winning hit and he immediately grabbed a stump. Somewhat sheepishly he had to replace it, apologise to South Africa - who appeared to question the legaility of the Gunaratne's move - and next ball drove through cover. That really was the win