JP Duminy’s 32-ball 53 sealed a five-wicket win for the Proteas against Sri Lanka in the first ODI in Dambulla.
It was a comfortable victory for the Proteas at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium. From the start, the Proteas found success with their all-new bowling attack and bundled the hosts out for 193.
Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi squeezed the Sri Lanka top order as they found themselves five down with 36 runs on the board in just under nine overs.
The Proteas switched to their two young all-rounders Andile Phehlukwayo and Wiaan Mulder, but the decision didn’t go to plan. Mulder went for 34 in his first three overs and Phehlukwayo went for 30 in his first three overs, which helped Kusal Perera and Thisara Perera find their grip on the contest. The pair scored 92 off 55 deliveries before the change of Tabraiz Shamsi swung the game back in the Proteas’ favour.
Shamsi finished with figures of 4-33, which included the wickets of both Perera’s. Kusal’s wicket, in particular, was the key, and Shamsi sent him back to the pavilion after a well-played 81. He also dismissed Thisara one run short of a half-century.
Rabada took 4-41 which included the last wicket to fall, as Sri Lanka were all out for 193.
The Proteas looked on top at the start of their innings, as they raced to 31 in first four overs, but Akila Dananjaya’s third over saw the Sri Lankans pull themselves back into the contest. Dananjaya’s googlies bowled Amla on 19 and then trapped Markram lbw for a duck the next ball as the Proteas went into lunch on 37-2.
With 44 overs left in the contest after lunch, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis had plenty of time to see their side home.
The pair were measured in their chase as they knocked around the good balls, blocked the great ones and punished the loose deliveries. Maintaining this approach would be key to their comfortable pursuit of 194 runs.
De Kock broke from the gameplan that had helped him to a well-worked 47, opting to whip Dananjaya over mid-wicket but, instead, he found a top edge. Suranga Lakmal and Kusal Perera collided at extra cover, but the former held onto the catch.
Du Plessis followed in De Kock’s footsteps. The Proteas skipper attempted a cheeky paddle but pulled out when he realised Sandakan’s delivery was drifting wide of off-stump. He pulled out and pushed at the ball, deflecting it straight to slip. Du Plessis was out for a well played 47.
Despite losing David Miller on 10 shortly after, Duminy took the Proteas comfortably across the line. He showed his experience and adopted the approach that has made him the Proteas’ greatest ever T20 run-getter, in so doing displaying a wide array of shots as he racked up six fours and two sixes for his 26th half-century.
Mulder also contributed with three fours for his 11-ball 14 as the Proteas claimed a five-wicket win.
Sri Lanka innings 193 – Kusal Perera 81; Tabraiz Shamsi 4-33, Kagiso Rabada 4-41
South Africa 196-5 – JP Duminy 53, Quinton de Kock 47, Faf du Plessis 47, Akila Dananjaya 3-50
Photo: Sarah Ansell/Getty Images