Listless Lanka crushed in T7 shoot-out
- ICC World T20 – South African vs Sri Lanka
By Dion Michael
A listless display by Sri Lanka saw them easily beaten by South Africa in their World T20 clash at Hambantota on Saturday which was reduced to sevens overs each side owing to rain.
After South Africa had rattled up an impressive 78/4 in their seven overs the hosts seemed to have lost the plot in their run chase and ultimately succumbed to a 32-run defeat after limping to 46/5 in their allotted seven overs.
After a rather quiet start the World T20 championship was set to liven up quite a bit when hosts Sri Lanka took on the pre-tournament favourites South Africa in an eagerly awaited clash in Group C Hambantota on Saturday.
The contest itself was already a ‘dead’ encounter as both teams had already qualified for the next round in the tournament however with neither side being fully tested in their opening games this match was an opportunity to engage in some muscle flexing as both sides were keen to maintain their early momentum.
Heavy rain during the morning session threatened to cause the total abandonment of the game but mercifully for the capacity crowd the rain ceased and the ground was rendered playable albeit for just seven overs per side.
The game was then set for a frenetic seven-over shoot-out with only two bowlers allowed a maximum of two overs each and two overs of powerplay.
After being put in to bat the South African kept the crowd entertained with some attractive cricket. AB de Villiers struck 30 off just 13 balls to lead the way and he was well supported by HashimAmla (16) and JP Duminy(12) as the Proteas reached an impressive 78/3.
When Sri Lanka batted, skipper Jayawardena replaced newcomer DilshanMunaweera at the top of the order and partnered regular opener TillekeratneDilshan. This seemed a wise move as the duo were the two most seasoned campaigners at the top of the order.
However from there onwards everything went horribly wrong. Jayawardenawas lucky to survive an lbw shout off the second ball and although he struck a boundary off the next the skipper seemed out of touch. Things got worse when Dilshan was run out without facing a ball and Sri Lanka were 5/1 at the end of the first over.
Despite having the bit hitting ThisaraPerera in the hutch the hosts decided to send Munaweera at the fall of the first wicket – completely negating their earlier decision to move him right down the order.
Jayawardena fell in the last ball of the second over caught by Behardien off Dale Steyn with just a solitary boundary to his name.
There was no Perera even at the fall of the second wicket but instead Kumar Sangakkara strode in to the middle to join Munaweera. The Sri Lanka innings then merely limped along far behind the asking rate and without either batsman appearing to want to increase the tempo.
After three overs the total was 13/2 and there was a slight buzz in the fourth which yielded 9 runs but when Sangakkara was dismissed Sri Lanka were 30/3 in 4.5 overs. When Perera finally came in there was only 2.1 overs left and 48 still needed.
Perera lasted only three balls as he perished probably more out of frustration of having to watch most of the action from the dug-out.
The game was well and truly over when the last over began with Sri lanka requiring an impossible 41 runs off the six deliveries and the cricket crazy fans who were earlier cursing the rain were left wishing that the rain had continued straight after the South African innings.