NEW DELHI: Opener Hashim Amla struck an unbeaten 56 for South Africa in its eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the last World Twenty20 Group 1 game yesterday. Amla hit five fours and one six off 52 balls as South Africa scored 122-2 in 17.4 overs after winning the toss and dismissing Sri Lanka for 120 in 19.3 overs. Amla added 60 for the second wicket with captain Faf du Plessis (31) to help South Africa control the chase from early on.
South Africa finished third in the group behind firstplace West Indies and England, which were already through to the semifinals. Defending champion Sri Lanka finished the tournament with a solitary win over Afghanistan. South Africa had little problem in chasing the moderate total as Amla struck a fifth half-century and called the shots in the company of his captain.
Du Plessis scored three fours in his 36 balls but was trapped leg before wicket by pace bowler Suranga Lakmal when he was batting fluently. In a game lacking lots of big shots, the crowd of more than 10,000 saw A.B. de Villiers strike two sixes, including the winning smash over mid-wicket off Lakmal’s full toss. “It’s always tough when you are playing South Africa,” said Sri Lanka’s stand-in skipper Dinesh Chandimal. “Batting has let us down in this tournament.” Earlier, Kyle Abbott, Farhaan Behardien and Aaron Phangiso grabbed two wickets to restrict Sri Lanka. Left-arm spinner Phangiso produced a twinstrike in the fifth over after which Sri Lanka failed to get partnerships going.
Opener Tillkaratne Dilshan, who had smashed an unbeaten 83 in Sri Lanka’s win against Afghanistan, scored 36 off 40 with four fours and one six. He added 45 runs for the first wicket with Chandimal, who led the side after Angelo Mathews pulled out due to a hamstring injury suffered during his fighting knock of 73 not out against England. Chandimal was bowled with a straighter delivery from Phangiso for 21 and left-hander Lahiru Thirimanne was bowled first ball with one that came in sharply.
Behardien then dismissed Shehan Jayasuriya (1) and Dilshan, while Abbott came on to take two late wickets and ensure there was no fightback from the tail-enders. “It was a great pitch, the ball was stopping and turning,” said man-of-the-match Phangiso. “It’s been a bit tough. We prepared well coming from home and I think we just needed luck on our side.” — AP