South Africa's spinner, Aaron Phangiso, playing only his second match in the World T20, picked up two wickets to help his side beat Sri Lanka by an eight-wicket margin in Delhi on Monday.
South Africa's captain, Faf du Plessis, won the toss and pressed the opposition in to bat first. Sri Lanka's openers, Tillakaratne Dilshan and stand-in captain Dinesh Chandimal added 45 runs in the first five overs.
South Africa's strategy of playing two spinners, Phangiso and Imran Tahir, seemed to have backfired at the onset, as Sri Lanka's openers refused to be tied down by spin. Dilshan, resorted to slow-sweeping and charging at the spinners. Chandimal aimed to do the same, but 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, in poor form throughout the competition, was drawn into the drive and missed. Sri Lanka's fortunes had turned with the double-blow and their middle order never really recovered thereafter.
An impressive display by the spinners, forced Dilshan and Milinda Siriwardana to be cautious in their approach. The dearth of boundaries, then prompted an error as Siriwardana tried to force a single off Phangiso but was run out. Sri Lanka had scored back 45 from the first five overs and managed just 32 off the next five. The middle-order, comprising of Shehnan Jayasuriya, Chamara Kapugedera and Thisara Perera added just 13 runs, as Sri Lanka were dismissed for just 120 in 19.3 overs.
South Africa's openers, Hashim Amla and Quniton de Kock, looked to attack from the start. De Kock flayed two fours from the first over, before he was run out an over later. Sri Lanka hoped that his departure would prompt a collapse, but they were wrong as Amla, du Plessis and then AB de Villiers took their side home with 14 balls to spare.
"It's a great pitch, the ball was stopping and turning. It's been a bit tough, we prepared well coming from home and I think we just needed luck on our side. We gave it our all and we tried to make South Africa proud," Phangiso, the Star of the Match, said. "It was tough to play what you call a dead rubber. But we play for our country and we are very proud to represent it. It's always a good experience to play here, because in South Africa wickets don't help [spin] much. This major tournament, it's great to take part in."