Amla guides SA to consolation victory

29 March 2016

South Africa too strong for a hapless Sri Lanka in one-sided ICC World T20 clash in Delhi

ICC World T20 - Men,


The match in a tweet: Proteas crush defending champs. #SL tournament ends with a whimper as Amla leads #SA to consolation win #WT20

The vitals: Sri Lanka 120 (Dilshan 36, Abbott 2-14) lost to South Africa 2-122 (17.4 overs, Amla 56no) by eight wickets

The hero: The Proteas needed one of their senior batsmen to stand up in what might have shaped as a tricky run chase, and Hashim Amla was equal to the task. Pacing his innings perfectly from the top of the order, the classy right-hander dictated proceedings in the back half of the match, finding boundaries when required as he moved to his fifty from 47 balls. With a hooked six behind backward square, he became the fourth South African to reach 1000 T20I runs, and was dutifully there at the end, unbeaten on 56 from 52 deliveries. 

The moment: Unfortunately for Sri Lanka, the key moment with this contest happened before a ball had been bowled, with the withdrawal of SL captain Angelo Mathews. Such has been the poor form of the Lankans, Mathews' absence immediately swung the contest in favour of the Proteas, the classy allrounder a near terminal blow for a team still reeling from the loss of Lasith Malinga and, dare we say it, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jaywardena.

The collapse: As often happens with struggling sides, one wicket led to plenty more. Sri Lanka moved to 45 without loss and a decent total looked on the cards, but the dismissal of Dinesh Chandimal (21) triggered a monumental collapse, the island nation losing 10-75 as their batting order simply imploded.  

The support cast: Aaron Phangiso (2-26) was the early star for the Proteas, taking two wickets with consecutive deliveries as the unheralded tweaker found turn and bounce to surprise the Sri Lankan batsmen. Kyle Abbott (2-14) claimed the best figures while Farhaan Behardien also chipped in with 2-15. Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis (31 from 36) looked set to take his side to the win but was unlucky to be adjudged lbw after edging onto his pad.

The consolation effort: Tillakaratne Dilshan was typically entertaining opening up for Sri Lanka, blasting four fours and a six in making 36 from 40. The veteran was also responsible for a superb direct-hit run-out to account for Quinton de Kock. 

The stat: Sri Lanka can lay claim to the rather unwanted title of being the first team at this tournament to be bowled out after batting first.

The return: Dale Steyn was back. He took some tap from Chandimal in particular early on, and finished with 1-33, but with the Proteas opting to give young gun Kagiso Rabada the night off, Steyn was at least back in the Proteas XI - doubtless a pleasing sign for many of their fans. His last World T20 appearance, perhaps?

The cameo: The crowd were chanting his name and they got their wish late in the piece as AB de Villiers marched to the middle and blazed two sixes - included one to finish the match in style - in an unbeaten 20 from 12 balls. Frustratingly for cricket fans the world over, that's the last we'll see of the Proteas superstar at this tournament. 

The wash-up: That's it, the Super 10s phase of this ICC World T20 is done and dusted, and for Sri Lanka and South Africa it was always ending in ignominy regardless of tonight's result. At least the Proteas can claim bragging rights over the 2014 World T20 champions, while Sri Lanka are left to contemplate a quite dramatic fall from grace as a proud cricketing nation begins a rebuilding period.