Proteas win by 10 wickets to claim series sweep against Sri Lanka
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JOHANNESBURG – A calamitous batting display by the home side against more crafty captaincy from Keshav Maharaj saw the Proteas stretch their winning streak in T20 Internationals to seven matches.
Again spin dominated for the tourists, with all three front-line spinners bowling their full quota, while Aiden Markram’s part-time off-spin got through two overs in which he picked up one wicket.
But Maharaj again showed a willingness to go off script. Kagiso Rabada, sporting a fresh trim, bowled two overs in the power play, accounting for Avishka Fernando, who hit the ball straight back to him, and also Bhanuka Rajapaksa, with a ‘one-two’ bouncer-full delivery combination.
Rabada still doesn’t look in absolute peak form, with his lack of rhythm a concern, but Tuesday’s was a better showing than in the previous two matches, and South Africa must hope he can find some form and consistency during the Indian Premier League.
The South African spinners again kept a rein on the home team’s batsmen, leading to some awful errors. Dhananjaya de Silva walked passed a straight ball from Bjorn Fortuin and was stumped, Kamindu Mendis – who replaced Charitha Asalanka – drove Markram to Maharaj, Wanindu Hasaranga did the same, giving Fortuin his second wicket.
The most comical dismissal of the whole innings saw Lahiru Madushanka, who replaced Praveen Jayawickrama, hit the ball straight to Rassie van der Dussen at point, take off for a run, get sent back by his batting partner Chamika Karunaratne, and before he could turn around, Quinton de Kock had removed the bail with Madushanka 10 metres short of his ground.
Karunaratne struck some mighty blows in the last two overs, but Sri Lanka were once again woefully short of setting the Proteas a competitive target.
Maharaj was superb again, and while it’s unlikely he’ll be made captain permanently once Temba Bavuma is fit, there is certainly scope for him to play a major tactical role when the team is in the field. Maharaj picked up 1/14 and once more Bjorn Fortuin delivered a spell that shows there is no need for concern ahead of the World Cup. He is accurate and varies his pace well, but most importantly he has shown composure throughout the series.
Fortuin finished the series as the top wicket-taker with five, while his economy rate of 4.75 shows the level of control he provides for his captain.
Quinton de Kock and Reeza Hendricks, again had a pressure-free start to the run-chase.
Hendricks’ driving – along the ground and in the air – was delightful, while De Kock was efficient in making 59 – his second half-century of the series – and ending as the series’s top run-scorer with an aggregate of 153 runs
Hendricks, notched up his seventh T20 International half-century, his 56 not out, saw him face 42 balls and strike five fours and a six.
After sharing fifty partnerships in each of the first two matches, Hendricks and De Kock, brought a century stand on Tuesday, as the Proteas coasted home with 32 balls to spare.
It was an important series triumph for South Africa and will build on the confidence gained in the West Indies earlier this year as they head to the T20 World Cup next month.
Sri Lanka 120/8 (Kusal Perera 39, Chamika Karunaratne 24, Bjorn Fortuin 2/21, Kagiso Rabada 2/23)
South Africa 121/0 (Quinton de Kock 59*, Reeza Hendricks 56*, Dushmantha Chameera 0/9, Chamika Karunaratne 0/13)
South Africa win by 10 wickets
South Africa win series 3-0