A resounding performance with the ball enabled South Africa to wrap up the Twenty20 international series with a nine-wicket victory over Sri Lanka at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Sunday.
After having lost the toss and bowling first, the Proteas bowlers combined to dismiss the home side for just 103 with Tabraiz Shamsi (3-20) and Aiden Markram (3-21) being the chief destroyers. In reply, Quinton de Kock guided his team to victory with an unbeaten 58 from just 48 balls as the Proteas ended on 105 for one in only 14.1 overs to clinch the three-match series with a game to spare after having won the opening match by 28 runs.
“Aiden is unbelievable, he is taking wickets and making runs. Sri Lanka prepared spinning wickets and many thought whis would be our weakness but we have done a lot of work,” said Shamsi after the match.
Anrich Notje (2-0-8-1) began the rot when he had Dinesh Chandimal caught at mid-on by Keshav Maharaj for just five before the spinners took control and decimated the home side. Markram accounted for Kusal Perera (30), Bhanuka Rajapaksa (20) and Charith Asalanaka (14), both latter men caught and bowled while man of the match, Tabaraiz Shamsi, the number one bowler in the world, claimed Dhananjaya de Silva, stumped by De Kock for four as well as Dasun Shanaka (10) and Chamika Karunaratne (8).
“Everyone can see that we have the capability to fight fire with fire. Will take this to the World Cup. Whether we bowl in the power play or in the middle overs, we have bowled a lot of spin overs. It is nice to have these options,” added the number one T20 bowler in the world.
Bjorn Fortuin, opening the bowling as he did in the first T20, captured the wickets of Wanindu Hasaranga (4) and Dashmantha Chameera (1) to end with 2-12 in four overs. Keshav Maharaj had debutant Maheesh Theekshana trapped in front for without scoring while Kagiso Rabada went wicketless in two overs while conceding 29 runs.
“It is very nice to be able to bowl so many overs of spin. In the past we have had a reluctance to spick spinners, but it has been a nice change and to have so many players to pick from. Having Aiden is a bonus. It is also nice for me because the captain can utilise me in different ways,” said Shamsi.
“Previously we only had 4 or 8 overs of spin but now we have so many more options,” added the spinner.
In reply, the only success the home sides tasted was that of Reeza Hendricks, caught by Chandimal from the bowling of Hasaranga (4-0-22-1) for 18 but De Kock, who struck seven boundaries from 48 balls, anchored the South African chase along with Markram, who ended unbeaten on 21 from 19 balls with three fours.
“I will never say no to a spinning wicket. We are blessed to have 70m boundaries and wickets that are more sporty and not flat. Obviously the powers that be above need scoring wickets, but we as bowlers love this type of wicket,” added Shamsi.
De Kock was his unusual quiet self, knocking the ball around with maturity and had some good support from Markram, who carried on with his composure from his first match 48. De Kock and Hendricks added 62 for the first wicket from 53 balls before Hendricks offered an easy chance to Chandimal.
But De Kock and Markram needed just 36 balls to finish off the game after adding an unbeaten 43 for the second wicket to close off the T20 series with a match to spare.
“I don’t have my picture on this badge – we are the peoples team! That is the important thing, we are playing for the people,” ended Shamsi.
As published on Supersport.com