After a century from Janneman Malan, Tabraiz Shamsi's five-wicket haul has helped South Africa register a 67-run victory over Sri Lanka in Colombo, to level the ODI series 1-1 and log ten ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League points.
Denying a Sri Lankan re-build in the middle overs Shamsi took the wind out of the hosts' sails with wickets in the middle overs, before tying things up with the tenth innings wicket.
Earlier, the start of the match was delayed due to rain by an hour and a half. South Africa's stand-in captain, Keshav Maharaj, won the toss and elected to bat with left-arm spinner George Linde making his ODI debut for the visitors.
South Africa got off to a good start with openers Aiden Markram and Janneman Malan sharing a 43-run stand before Chamika Karunaratne snared the former's wicket in his first over. Markram, who fell for a 29-ball 21, feathered an outside-off back of a length delivery with 'keeper Minod Bhanuka taking an easy catch.
Malan was then joined at the crease by No.3 batter, Reeza Hendricks, and together the duo steadied the proceedings. They helped South Africa cross 100 in the 20th over.
Shortly after, Malan brought up his third ODI fifty in style with a crisp four off Praveen Jayawickrama. Hendricks, too, joined the party, as he also reached his third fifty in the format in 52 balls.
But the solid 96-run stand was broken by Dhananjaya de Silva, who had bowled Hendricks out for 51 in the next over. Malan was then joined by Rassie van der Dussen.
Van der Dussen survived a run-out chance at the non-striker's end when de Silva had brushed the ball that crashed onto the stumps, but the South Africa batsman made it inside the crease on time. Although, his innings didn't last long as he was dismissed by Hasaranga for 16, four overs later.
But that dismissal meant it was Heinrich Klaasen coming in to bat at No.5. Known for his aggressive batting, Klaasen showed his intent from the start and played his natural game.
With Klaasen firing from one end, Malan, too, kept milking runs and reached the triple-digit mark – his third ODI ton – in 126 balls. Malan, who was struggling with cramps, went big in the very next over, smashing Hasaranga for a 4, 6 and 4, on three consecutive deliveries.
Sri Lanka bowlers made a comeback in the next two overs with wickets of Klaasen, Malan and Phehlukwayo, but Linde and Wiaan Mulder helped their side finish on a competitive total.
In reply, the hosts had the worst possible start as they lost three wickets in the span of five deliveries. Kagiso Rabada got the back-to-back scalps of Avishka Fernando and Bhanuka Rajapaksa for 8 and 0 respectively. Wiaan Mulder would then scalp Minod Bhanuka for 3 leaving the Lankans reeling 19/3 and a long way away from the chase.
Dhananjaya de Silva too couldn't contribute much, with Tabraiz Shamsi getting into the act, dismissing him for 12. The task was now left upon Chraith Asalanka and skipper Dasun Shanaka to make a contest out of this.
And the pair would frustrate the visitors in the middle-overs, with some sensible if not flashy batting. They crossed a 50-run partnership, with Asalanka bringing up his half-century, with Shanaka batting on 27. The rain would then cause a halt, with the Lankans still requiring 170 runs in 22 overs, being 41 runs behind the total on the DLS method.
The match would resume soon, with the contest revised to 41 overs and Sri Lanka requiring a revised target of 265. It would halt the momentum of the innings though, as a flurry of wickets soon followed suit after the re-start. Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga and Asalanka would perish in quick succession, leaving the task up to Chamika Karunaratne to deliver some big blows.
But Tabraiz Shamsi would finish things off for the visitors, ending with figures of 5/49, as the Proteas levelled the series 1-1, with a 67 run victory (DLS method). The hosts would lose three wickets in a span of eight deliveries, as we head into the decider at the same venue.
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