About the Match
South Africa took a 1-0 lead in the T20 series against Sri Lanka with a massive victory in the first match by 19 runs; the two teams will face off in the 2nd T20 match to be played at Johannesburg on 22nd January. Although the Proteas put up a dismal effort with the bat and could muster only 126 runs batting first, the bowlers did a fantastic job to stifle the out of form Lankans and steer the team towards a big win. The visitors face a do or die match on Sunday and will need to win it if they want to keep the series alive; on the other hand, the hosts have plenty of young resources, who are raring to go and help the team keep the upper hand with another victory here.
David Miller and Farhaan Behardien stabilized the innings from the middle order after batsmen like Smuts, Heino Kuhn and Theunis de Bruyn fell quickly while batting first against Lanka in the first match. While Miller posted a superb 40 off 18, the captain contributed well with an unbeaten 31 off 18 to get them to a respectable 126.
The experienced spinner, Imran Tahir provided quick breakthroughs with 2 scalps in the 6th over; Phangiso and speedsters like Parnell and debutante Lungi Ngidi, who took a brilliant 2-12 in 2 overs, did well to restrict the opponents and help win the match by 19 runs. They have a good mix of pace and spin, and with bowlers like Andile Phehlukwayo and the young Ngidi, the bowling attack surely has good depth.
The batting line-up has stalwarts like Miller, Kuhn, Behardien and Smuts, who could focus on building solid partnerships whether batting first or during chase; with a well-balanced team of batsmen and bowlers, South Africa surely looks better placed to win this match and series.
Chasing 127-run target, Niroshan Dickwella posted a fiery, almost vengeful 43 off just 19 deliveries to give his team a positive start. Dhananjaya de Silva did well to keep the scoreboard ticking with 27 off 16 balls but others down the line failed to step up to the task and fell like a pack of cards to lose the match by 19 runs.
Earlier, the bowlers took regular wickets but couldn’t put up a tighter attack with players like Mathews, Kulasekara, Lakmal and Prasanna going for more than 13 runs per over. While speedsters Kulasekara and Lakmal took 3 wickets between them, spinner Sekugge Prasanna dismissed the dangerous looking Theunis de Bryun at the right juncture. Fast-bowler Gunaratne was the most economical of the lot and brings variety to the attack along with others like Mathews and Pradeep.
Overall, the team has been down on morale but are trying to fight hard with the resources available at hand; although they are at a disadvantage psychologically, they could exploit the ground conditions to make a comeback with a must-win here.
The hosts are clear favourites here but they will not take the Lankans lightly here; while South Africa has strong, experienced players as well as young talent, the visitors are not far behind in terms of availability of match-winners on their side. The Proteas definitely look to be in better form in all departments of the game, and are more likely to win this game and take the series on Sunday.