Imran Tahir shows why he's top dog as Proteas win

Lynette Rowe
June 15, 2017

Sri Lanka head into the tournament as underdogs and one of the key reasons they´ve struggled in recent months has been the absence of fast bowler Lasith Malinga, who hasn´t played any ODI cricket since November 2015 due to a knee injury.

Captain AB de Villiers welcomed the duo's return, particularly Tahir who is the Proteas' highest wicket-taker in the past year with 35 scalps at an average of 24.37. The deadline for the end of the innings is three and a half hours. Imran Tahir picked up four wickets in a wonderful spell of bowling and was adjudged man of the match for his performance.

Du Plessis' edge behind from Sri Lanka's Nuwan Pradeep was the first of four South African wickets to drop for 43 runs.

Sri Lanka skipper and all-rounder Angelo Mathews has been forced to sit out during South Africa match, after scans revealed some days ago he´d suffered a calf strain.

Tahir took two wickets in the over, accounting for Dinesh Chandimal and Chamara Kapugedera, to break the back of the Sri Lankan middle-order.

Faf du Plessis was exceptional alongside Amla as he made 75 from 70 balls in a defining 145-run stand.

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"The wickets in England are flat and that's what Sri Lanka are accustomed to". Malinga also failed to take a wicket in his 10 overs but, after all his injuries, he will be relieved to have come through the innings apparently unscathed. ICC sanctions stipulate players lose 10 per cent of their match fee for each of the first two overs, then a further 20 per cent of their match fee for each additional over they are behind time. But the press conference of AB de Villiers was the praise of both the heroes of Hashim Amla and Imran Tahir.

At 189 for two, and with Amla taking root, South Africa appeared set fair but de Villiers came and went for just four and Miller fell for 18.

"We worked really hard at that part of our game, and very happy with the way it went today", de Villiers added.

"He's an incredible player and a great asset for us". Earlier, run-machine Amla struck his 25th ODI century to guide South Africa to a challenging 299 for six. Most of their likely top five have made recent runs as well.

"Steve Smith also seems reluctant to pick Adam Zampa, and I think there's an issue with captains' understanding of how to allow spinners to play an important role and bring them in to the one-day game".

"The stats show there's something in it for the first 15 overs", said de Villiers at the toss.

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