South Africa fancy chances against Sri Lanka

Lynette Rowe
June 14, 2017

AB de Villiers saluted Hashim Amla and Imran Tahir after the duo inspired South Africa to victory over Sri Lanka in their ICC Champions Trophy opener.

With Tharanga also batting confidently through those overs, it seemed inconceivable that Sri Lanka would not at least mount a muscular challenge to South Africa's total.

South Africa has won the game against Sri Lanka by 96 runs after bowling out Sri Lanka for 203 runs.

The return of veteran pacer Lasith Malinga, whose unorthodox, slingshot action makes him one of the most hard bowlers to face in world cricket, seems to be the only boost for the Sri Lankans.

On a sluggish surface, South Africa failed to fully capitalise on Amla's 25th ODI ton. "Both of them (Amla and opening partner Quinton de Kock) normally bat around a hundred strike rate without even trying, so that told the story", he added. Du Plessis reached his fifty off 52 deliveries and a strong platform was laid for the middle order.

Du Plessis managed 75 runs from his 70 balls on the innings, but it was Amla who did the real damage.

Morne Morkel (1-31) provided some respite for South Africa when he dismissed Dickwella and from there on Tharanga waged a lone fight as Chris Morris (2-32) had Kusal Mendis (11) caught at midwicket.

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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. Left-hander J P Duminy did his bit in propelling the side with his quick-fire 20-ball 38 with five fours and a hit over the ropes. The Proteas finished their innings on 299.

"Mathews had complained of stiffness and pain, prompting the team management to conduct radiographic investigations, which revealed a strain on the muscle", ESPNcricinfo quoted a Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) release as saying.

Dickwella scored 5 fours and a six, scoring 41 off just 33 balls.

Dickwella eventually fell with Sri Lanka on 69, but Tharanga was still going strong and soon posted his half century.

Once he departed, also accounted for by Tahir, Sri Lanka never really had any chance to provide any kind of fight.

And the ICC, who last week unveiled a raft of technological innovations to be showcased at the tournament, stuck the speed gun on the world's second-ranked ODI bowler and showed him clocking 24kmph (around 15mph) after taking the wicket of Sri Lanka's stand-in skipper Upul Tharanga.

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