Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews was delighted after Sri Lanka registered their first win of the series, a three-run victory over South Africa in the fourth one-day international.
Mathews praised the batsmen and all-rounders Thisara Perera and Dasun Shanaka for taking Sri Lanka to a big score. "Very important win to be honest. Proud of the way we fought. The batsmen put up a decent score. The two all-rounders finished off well," Mathews said after the match.
Sri Lanka put up 306/7 in their stipulated 39 overs in a rain-affected match, thanks to Perera's 45-ball 51* and Shanaka's 34-ball 65, and then restricted South Africa to 187/9 in 21 overs, four runs short of the revised target of 191. Perera did the job with the ball as well, picking up 2/32 and helped Suranga Lakmal, who returned 3/45, curb South Africa's run scoring.
"But it's never easy. DLS plays into the hands of the chasing team. Fantastic bowling. We weren't clinical in the field but we pulled through. We'll have a word about that, but we'll have a drink tonight," Mathews said.
Quinton de Kock, standing in for Faf du Plessis, who was ruled out of the series after he sustained an injury in the third ODI, praised Lakmal for defending eight runs in the final over with David Miller still at the crease.
While de Kock (23) and Hashim Amla (40) gave South Africa a good start by accumulating 34 runs in the first three overs, the visitors lost wickets at regular intervals. A 23-ball 38 by JP Duminy left them with eight runs to make off the last six balls, with two wickets in hand and Miller alive on 21. But Lakmal dismissed Miller on the second ball of the last over and gave away just four.
"Always disappointing losing games like that. It was a good game nonetheless. Credit has to be given to Sri Lankans. They kept taking the wickets and putting pressure on us," de Kock said.
"We were still backing ourselves in the last over, Davey's (Miller) capable of clearing the ropes, but Lakmal bowled two good balls and kept the pressure."
Sri Lanka's hero with the bat was the Player of the Match, Shanaka, who hit four fours and five sixes to take Sri Lanka to an imposing total in a rain-affected game. It suffices to say here that Shanaka enjoyed his batting.
"The wicket was very good and the ball was coming on nicely. I wasn't nervous. I batted my normal way and I enjoyed my batting. I'm really happy with the team performance," Shanaka said after the match.
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