Strangulated by spin, South Africa suffer another loss


Around the 15th over of South Africa’s innings, it seemed like all that Sri Lankan spinners had to do was to jog up and bowl, and watch self-inflicted implosion at the other end. 8 of the 10 wickets that fell rapidly at the SSC in the one-off T20I in Colombo went to the spin troika of Lakshan Sandakan, Akila Dananjaya and Dhananjaya de Silva, as South Africa folded for 98, their lowest ever T20I total. The South African bowlers tried to make a match of it, but the target proved to be too little.

South Africa opted to bat first, but looked out-of-sorts straightaway. Hashim Amla gave a training ground catching practice to Dasun Shanaka at cover for a four-ball duck, and Quinton de Kock was victim of a mix-up with Reeza Hendricks.

Hendricks attempted to revive South Africa’s innings, but Akila Dananjaya’s variation did him in. It was the start of South Africa’s big plan of sweeping and reverse sweeping their way out of trouble proving to be counterproductive. Dananjaya unfurled a loopy wrong ‘un that escaped Hendricks’s swinging bat and hit the stumps, leaving South Africa on 42 for 3 in the sixth over. Captain JP Duminy followed suit by trying to reverse sweep Dhananjaya de Silva, and was trapped leg before. Sri Lanka took the help of the TV umpire and sent Duminy packing.

Heinrich Klaasen walked out and whacked the second ball he faced for a six to announce his intentions. He didn’t fall into the sweep-reverse sweep trap, but was also undone by a wrong ‘un. Lakshan Sandakan tossed one up outside the offstump and had Klaasen chasing it with a big heave. A sliced hit went to Kusal Mendis at point. Sandakan destabilised South Africa further by dismissing Andile Phehlukwayo and Kagiso Rabada in the same over to register a triple-wicket maiden. David Miller watched from the other end as South Africa were brought down to 73 for 7. As the last recognised batter, he had no choice but to try and accelerate, and ended up becoming Dananjaya’s second scalp.

The two pacers – Kasun Rajitha and Isuru Udana – wrapped up the innings for 98. Kagiso Rabada began by giving South Africa some hope straightaway, reducing Sri Lanka to 6 for 2 in the first over. Comeback man Dinesh Chandimal and Dhananjaya de Silva came together to resurrect the ship that Rabada rocked early, with a 53-run stand off 40 balls. The partnership all but killed South Africa’s hope of a comeback, but they didn’t give in so soon.

Once Junior Dala broke the partnership by dismissing Dhananjaya, there was a wobble for Sri Lanka as Angelo Mathews (0), Thisara Perera (0) and Dananjaya (2) almost didn’t add to the scorecard. But Dasun Shanaka’s 16 and Chandimal’s unbeaten effort was enough to take Sri Lanka past the finish line.

Brief Scores: South Africa 98 in 16.4 overs (Quinton de Kock 20; Lakshan Sandakan 3-19, Akila Dananjaya 2-15, Dhananjaya de Silva 2-22) lost to Sri Lanka 99/7 in 16 overs (Dinesh Chandimal 36*, Dhananjaya de Silva 31; Junior Dala 2-22, Kagiso Rabada 2-24, Tabraiz Shamsi 2-26) by 3 wickets

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