New Delhi: South Africa brought curtains on their World Twenty20 campaign with a comfortable eight–wicket win over defending champions Sri Lanka in an inconsequential Super 10 Group 1 cricket match in New Delhi on Monday night.
Put into bat, Sri Lanka frittered away a solid start to be bowled out for 120 in 19.3 overs as left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso opened the gates for their capitulation with his twin-strike in the fifth over.
Openers Tillkaratane Dilshan (36) and stand-in skipper Dinesh Chandimal (21) had provided Sri Lanka their best start in the tournament with their quick-fire 45-run stand but Phangiso sent back Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne (0) in successive balls and Sri Lanka could never recover from the setback.
Leg-spinner Imran Tahir also contributed with his tight spell in which he dismissed Chamara Kapugedera, giving away only 18 runs in his four overs. Farhaan Behardien (2/15) and Kyle Abbott (2/14) chipped in with two wickets each as they also benefited from the pressure created by the spinners.
South Africa chased down the modest target without any fuss with ever-consistent Hashim Amla scoring a well-calculated 56-run knock off 52 balls and skipper Faf du Plessis contributing 31 off 36 balls.
They raised a 60-run partnership for the second wicket, which was broken when paceman Suranga Lakmal trapped the rival captain in the last ball of the 13th over. South Africa had lost Quinton de Kock (9) early through a run out.
Close to 17,000 fans had gathered at the Feroze Shah Kotla ground to watch hugely popular AB De Villiers in the dead rubber and the chants of 'AB' 'AB' reverberated at the ground when he made his way to the crease after Du Plessis' dismissal.
The big-hitting batsman made 20 off 12 balls as he entertained the crowd with two sixes, the second one finishing the match in the 18th over.
Amla had hit the first six off the innings in the 16th over and with that shot he completed 1000 runs T20 internationals.
Amla's knock was packed with five fours and a six.
Sri Lanka, enduring a very tough transition phase, now have lost 13 of their last 17 matches. They badly missed skipper Angelo Mathews, who did not play due to a hamstrung injury sustained in the last game.
South Africa were slow but steady in their chase, reaching 50-run mark in 9.2 overs and had the luxury of wickets in hands. Amla and du Plessis mostly relied in ones and twos and found an odd boundary in between. Sri Lanka persisted with spinners but had too low a total to defend.
Earlier, Phangiso led South African attack in choking Sri Lanka after inviting thnem to bat first.
Sri Lanka were off to a decent start with Tillkaratane Dilshan (36) and stand-in skipper Dinesh Chandimal (21) playing with a lot of positive intent.
It was Phangiso who tilted the balance in favour of the Proteas with his double strike that pegged the Sri Lankans back. Introduced in the fifth over, Phangiso dismissed Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne (0) in the last two balls and Sri Lanka could never recover from the setback.
Leg-spinner Imran Tahir also contributed with his tight spell in which he dismissed Chamara Kapugedera, giving away only 18 runs in his four overs. Farhaan Behardien (2/15) and Kyle Abbott (2/14)chipped in with two wickets each as they also benefited from the pressure created by the spinners.
Styen was the only bowler who struggled, leaking 33 runs for one wicket from his four overs.
Dilshan was again not at his best but played a fighting 36-run knock with four fours and six while Chandimal was the next best with 21 off 20 balls.
Sri Lanka openers chose Steyn, playing only in his second match of the tournament, to attack. The paceman looked rusty and Dilshan had no hesitation even playing a scoop while Chandimal hooked him for a six in the third over.
Chandimal, leading the side in absence of injured Angelo Mathews, was comfortable when Steyn pitched it on the middle and off as he comfortably found boundaries using his wrists.
Sri Lanka were off to a decent start but Phangiso caused a flutter in the rival camp by dismissing Chandimal and Thirimanne off successive balls. This was after he was hit for a four ad a six by Dilshan.
Phangiso extracted turn with faster deliveries that went through the defence of the Lankans. Tahir was equally impressive as they bowled in tandem to stop the run flow.
The good thing for Sri Lanka was that Dilshan was still there and Milinda Siriwardana (15) made a confident start. However the latter was run out in a mix up.
In came Sehhan Jayasuriya but he did not last long as Behardien scalped him and also removed dangerous Dilshan by trapping him when he attempted a sweep and missed the line.
By then, Sri Lanka had lost the plot. Much depended on experienced Thisara Perera but he also disappointed as he hit straight to Behardien in cover region off Steyn. The tail-enders helped Sri Lanka cross the 100-run mark with Dasun Shanka playing a crucial unbeaten 20-run cameo.