Proteas close out T20 series against Sri Lanka

South Africa completed another clean-sweep when they downed Sri Lanka by 45 runs on the Duckworth/Lewis/Stern method in the third and final Twenty20 at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday to seal the three-match series three-nil.

Sri Lanka’s target was revised to 183 in 17 overs after rain brought a halt to proceedings with Sri Lanka on 111 for six in pursuit of the original target of 199 in 20 overs.

But the visitors were bowled out for 137 in 15.4 overs with Andile Phehlukwayo claiming career-best figures of 4-24 in three overs.

South Africa, after losing the toss and being asked to bat first, amassed 198 for two with man-of-the-match Dwaine Pretorius smashing an unbeaten 77 from 42 balls with seven boundaries and three maximums while man-of-the-series Reeza Hendricks smashed 66 from 42 deliveries, his second consecutive half-century.

Hendricks and Pretorius, who was elevated up the order and in his first T20 bat for the Proteas, shared in a wonderful stand of 90 from 55 balls for the second wicket after Hendricks and Aiden Markram (15) had given the hosts a steady start of 37 at a run a ball.

Markram, who had struck one four and a six, was caught by Lasith Malinga at mid-on after trying to hoist Suranga Lakmal (4-0-38-1) down the ground for another six.

The departure of the World Cup hopeful brought Pretorius in and the bizhub Highveld Lions man did not disappoint.

The pair’s partnership, which reached 50 off 33 balls was assisted with some very ordinary fielding from the visitors. Hendricks raised his bat for his half century off just 42 balls while Pretorius was more aggressive, needing just 28 deliveries to raise his first 50 in Proteas colours.

Hendricks’s innings was brought to an end when he tried to slog-sweep the leg-spin of Jeffrey Vandersay (3-0-35-1) and was bowled with his leg stump being sent backwards.

But the momentum was not halted as captain JP Duminy walked out and found his groove early, smashing two fours and three sixes from just 14 deliveries to end unbeaten on 34 as he and Pretorius smashed 72 unbeaten runs for the third wicket from only 32 deliveries.

In reply, The Sri Lankans made a steady start with Niroshan Dickwella (38) and Dhananjaya de Silva (8) adding 42 runs for the first wicket off only 28 balls as Dickwella took the attack to the home side.

But the good start turned into a nightmare as the visitors slipped from 42 without loss to 96 for six as Pretorius (1-0-12-1), Phehlukwayo and Junior Dala (3-0-29-2) destroyed the top-order.

Pretorius was the first to make the breakthrough, trapping De Silva in front before Phehlukwayo had Dickwella brilliantly caught behind by wicketkeeper Sinethemba Qeshile, with the ball going down the leg-side and coming off the back of the bat, leaving Qeshile to change direction to effect the dismissal.

Phehlukwayo then trapped Avishka Fernando in front for just a single before Dala and David Miller combined to dismiss Kamindu Mendis (1), caught off a top-edge in the covers and then Angelo Perera (15) launched Dala down the ground with Miller running around at long-on to take a good catch.

Thisara Perera (8) was then brilliantly run out by Hendricks with a direct throw from wide mid-on to leave the Sri Lankans in dire straits before the rain came down in buckets with the visitors on 11 for six, still some way off of their target of 199.

When the players returned to the field, the target had been revised to 183 from 17 overs, leaving the Sri Lankans needing 72 runs from 35 balls but Phehlukwayo dismissed the dangerous Isuru Udana (36), caught by Miller on the cover boundary going for another huge six, after already smashing four maximums.

Phehlukwayo finished off his stint with the wicket of Malinga, caught on the extra-cover boundary by Chris Morris before Lutho Sipamla (1.4-0-22-2) finished off proceedings by claiming the wickets of Akila Dananjaya (9) and Lakmal, whom he clean-bowled.

Malinga said his side’s inability to make early bowling breakthroughs, together with their own poor top-order batting, had been the main reason for their defeats.

“Going forward we realise what we need to do,” he said. (Courtesy Supersport)

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