About the Match
With the series levelled at 1-1, hosts Sri Lanka will try to surge forward and claim the title on 12th July at Hambantota, when the two sides meet again for the 3rd and final one-day match. After winning the first ODI by 75 runs, the visitors South Africa lost the second match by 87 runs; they will surely come back stronger with all the weapons in their armour to finish on a positive note before proceeding to the upcoming test series.
Batting first proved to be the right strategy as Dilshan seized the moment and posted a brilliant 86 off 90 deliveries when his team was at 2-63 by the 9th over in the 2nd ODI; Sangakkara and Perera were blind-sided by the Protean fast bowlers and it was up to the middle order to come out with a good performance. Jayawardene, who couldn’t perform well in the first match, scored 48 off 70 balls and with good support by Thirimanne, Mathews and Priyanjan took the total to 267 before the team got all-out with 4 balls remaining. Again, the batsmen struggled against speed while Tahir’s spin also caused worry for them in the middle. Defending the score set by the batsmen, the bowlers spearheaded by Malinga’s amazing 4-24 and Dilshan taking 3 wickets giving away 40 runs, choked the visitors’ batting line-up to restrict them to 180 runs by end of 39th over to register a massive win. Mendis and Senanayake were economical and also chopped in with their wicket-taking abilities to help the team survive the series. The bowlers performed much better in comparison to the 1st ODI and can surely pull out some tricks to surprise the opponents once again.
With Amla’s superb knock of 101 off 102 balls in the chase for 267 runs in the 2nd ODI, nobody could have imagined the shocking outcome of the match as they lost by 87 runs; Quinton, Kallis and much of the middle order were easy prey for Malinga and Dilshan as the wickets fell like a pack of cards; Duminy, McLaren and Miller who had shown their batting skills in the first match, couldn’t bring in the runs here and saw their side tumbling down. Kallis’ lack of form is a worry as he failed to fire once again; it was a dismal performance and they will be eager to put this defeat behind them to move forward. In the bowling front, McLaren’s 4-48 was impressive as he continued his good form in the tournament; Imran Tahir who had claimed 3 wickets in the first ODI, took 2 crucial wickets here to suffocate the Lankan run-flow. While Philander, Duminy and Morkel performed well, Dale Steyn who had successfully taken 2 wickets in the previous match couldn’t make a dent on the Lankan batsmen in the 2nd match giving away too many runs. Surely, they need to re-group and strategize well to put up a much better performance in the decider of the series on Saturday.
While Proteas have suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Lankans and will be motivated to erase that memory and claim the title, Sri Lanka with the home advantage and the newly found confidence will fight hard to choke the visitors again, but I suspect Proteas to get through and take the series.
South Africa, 2.10 @ Titan Bet