South Africa may have wrapped up the five-match Hero Cup ODI Series, 3-0 as there are two more matches left to play.
We’ve already concluded yesterday as were reviewing this match.
Then we’ve had one more day match this Sunday followed by the lone T20I game next Tuesday.
For now, will South Africa up 4-0 and edge closer towards a whitewash? or can Sri Lanka fight back the upper hand with a late victory?
The battle continues at Pakallele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy.
Niroshan Dickwella and Upul Tharanga opened the Sri Lankan innings in request of Quinton De Kock’s chosen to field first.
Although, the game halted for a few times which seen the revised playing conditions reduced from 45 to 39 overs.
Dickwella & Tharanga rotated the strike did by building up singles then into 4 & 6s.
But that opening partnership ended with the pair scoring around 30-35 runs each.
Kusal Mendis again struggled to barely escape double figures when he tried to look for the sweep.
So Kusal Perera and Angelo Mathews took charge to continue Sri Lanka’s innings drive where Mendis, Tharanga & Dickwella left off.
K.Perera looked so fearless hitting full tosses anywhere he likes as long he wants with a well-fought 51.
After K. Perera’s dismissal from David Miller’s catch off JP Duminy, the pressure is on to keep the partnership ticking.
Both Dasun Shanaka & Thisara Perera set out their strategy & did something special of what the fans saw before the innings change.
The left & right-hand combination & playing it merely from 1s to 6s has caused headaches for the South African bowlers.
Look at T. Perera; he scored 51 likewise what the other namesake in Kusal did earlier on.
And what about Dasun Shanaka, he goes & bats at No.9 and wow!
He waits and whacks the right moment that any batsman can do & can’t do to reach his 50.
He even topped the Sri Lankan batting scoreboard charts on a whopping 65.
Quinton De Kock inside edges the ball and whacks off loose balls into boundaries.
It’s an excellent start there from the stand-in captain.
But he panicked at the wrong time when Suranga Lakmal attacked the stumps full-toss very instant on 23.
The same say from Reeza Hendricks who unfortunately couldn’t build up from his debut ODI 100 on Sunday to a screamer from Shanaka for 2.
The experienced pair Hashim Amla and JP Duminy lifted the scoreboard a bit.
However, Duminy needed a hand when Amla edged it straight to Lahiru Kumara at point on 40.
That pressure has fallen even worse first for Heinrich Klaasen then a direct hit from Shanaka saw Duminy sent back into the pavilion.
The left-hand duo of David Miller and Andile Phehlukwayo tried to keep the partnership and run chase ticking.
But Thisara Perera’s lightning strike onto the stumps (Phehlukwayo) and De Silva’s one-hand dive on Wiaan Mulder saw South Africa’s hopes of tying 4-0 have virtually gone nearly zero.
Maharaj did everything he can to keep his wicket and give Miller a hand to foil Sri Lanka’s night in Kandy.
But the late wickets from T. Perera and S.Lakmal have given their bowlers in Ngidi & Dala to strike as hard as they can.
And that proved unfortunate when Sri Lanka won this match by three runs.
First of all, it’s great to see Sri Lanka tweak the squad a bit & play on that convey what they have to offer last night.
The top order may need a bit of work except when Dickwella and Tharanga kicked started their innings off with a bang.
Apart from Kusal Perera, there’s not much impact you can say until the lower order duo came to the rescue.
You’re talking about Dasun Shanaka and Thisara Perera.
Both of them waited and changed their strategy around to explode the opposition bowlers with frustration.
It’s about finishing off in which they did show T20-class shots going up high into the grandstands.
In return, the fielding they’ve got finally working well together.
Shanaka couldn’t stop working as he produced an all-around performance:
- Top-scored 65 with the bat
- Directly targeted the stumps on JP Duminy
- Picked up the wicket of Hendricks on the back off the catch of Dhananjaya De Silva
And speaking on De Silva, that one-catch dive on Wiaan Mulder has demonstrated plenty of energy across the field.
Looking on South Africa’s performance
It’s tough to cope with the loss when Faf Du Plessis injured his shoulder during the previous ODI from Sunday.
The same said when Quinton De Kock took up captaincy for the first time standing in for Du Plessis.
The list doesn’t stop there.
Junior Dala, who has some International experience in the T20 Scene with South Africa, made his ODI debut last night.
Like everyone, when you make your debut, you feel nervous and under pressure to give your shot in front of everyone.
Dala brings an unusual and orthodox bowling action off his fast right hand.
Unfortunately, he didn’t pick up any wickets out of his eight-over spell.
He needs some time in playing this format more for South Africa as there’s another opportunity for Dala to fix his line & length in time for Sunday.
JP Duminy, Hashim Amla, Wiaan Mulder and Lungi Ngidi may be one of the positive performers last night for the Proteas.
But some of the squad such as the fringe players isn’t balanced and experienced enough that put the competitiveness on Sri Lanka’s level to the test.
It’s hard to say since Faf had to heal his injury.
But it’s essential that they have to try Aiden Markram back for the final ODI.
He would’ve been useful if he came back last night ahead of Klaasen.
You never know like what David Miller answered his critics with a well-earned 50 a few days ago.
The whole squad and Coach Ottis Gibson can’t afford to slip another loss this Sunday.
So a 4-1 win would add plenty of strong lead-up performances that is useful between now and next year’s 50-Over World Cup.
It’s the tournament they want to win dearly and bring the trophy back home in front of 56 million people.
- Cricket South Africa (Feature Image)