Bowlers, Amla take South Africa to consolation win
Sri Lanka, the defending champion, bows out of the tournament on a low note after eight-wicket reversal
28 March 2016 23:08
South Africa’s bowlers lifted themselves for one final push after Faf du Plessis won the toss in the final ICC World Twenty20 Super 10 Group 1 game on Monday (March 28) at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi and put Sri Lanka in.
There were no devils in the pitch, but the application of the bowlers combined with the lowered intensity of the match resulted in Sri Lanka being bowled out for only 120 in 19.3 overs. Hashim Amla then led a clinical chase, South Africa winning comfortably by eight wickets.
Ironically, this was the biggest turnout at the Kotla, a crowd upwards of 16,000 desperately willing AB de Villiers to give them a pyrotechnic display.
As energetically as Dale Steyn operated – the effort ball he sent down halfway down the pitch to Thisara Perera stuck in the surface giving him his only wicket of the day – it was a team effort rather than a one-man show that powered South Africa.
Aaron Phangiso accounted for the first two wickets, Dinesh Chandimal playing for the turn and being bowled while Lahiru Thirimanne, next ball, played for the straight one and was beaten by the turn to hear the death rattle of ball hitting stumps.
Malinda Siriwardana gambled against the rocket arm of du Plessis and lost; Shehan Jayasuriya played an ambitious shot before assessing the conditions; Tillakaratne Dilshan (36) swept and missed when he read Imran Tahir’s googly like it was written in Urdu, and Sri Lanka had collapsed to 85 for 6.
Without the strong shoulders and broad blade of Angelo Matthews, sitting the game out with a hamstring injury, all Sri Lanka could do was limp along, wickets coming regularly enough to put it out of its misery, with only 120 on the board, before the 20 overs of the innings were even completed.
Quinton de Kock gave Sri Lanka some false hope, and kept the crowd interested, when he was tardy enough to allow an accurate and strong through from Dilshan to find him short of the crease, but the lack of runs on the board meant that South Africa could take its own sweet time in pacing the chase.
Hashim Amla and du Plessis then bedded down and tucked in. There was no call for anything extravagant and true to personality two consummate professionals set about getting the job done. South Africa had motored to 75 for 1 when du Plessis (31), pulled out the scoop shot to a full, straight ball from Suranga Lakmal and was adjudged lbw.
Chants of AB! AB! AB! rang around the Kotla even as a disappointed du Plessis dragged himself off the field. Every time de Villiers’s bat made contact with the ball a loud cheer rang out, even if it was a mere push into the deep for an uncomplicated single. Equally, every boundary Amla struck was greeted with a muted cheer as this left fewer opportunities for de Villiers to do his thing as the chase neared its inevitable conclusion.
Amla brought up a well constructed half-century, and in the process crossed 1000 Twenty20 International runs and, for a moment, the crowd put aside its de Villiers fetish and warmly applauded Amla. The crowd eventually got what they were after, de Villiers mowing Dasun Shanaka for a six in the 17th over. Amla, unbeaten on 56, then watched de Villiers put the icing and cherry on the cake, getting South Africa past the line with clean swing that deposited a Lakmal full-toss into the stands at mid-wicket.