Imran Tahir conceded five runs to defend 14 runs in the super over to help the Proteas clinch a thrilling victory in the first T20I at Newlands. KHALID MOHIDIN reports.
A thrilling encounter awaited the Newlands crowd on Tuesday evening as the Proteas took on Sri Lanka in the first T20I. The good news, at least for the Newlands faithful, was that the faulty floodlight shone brightly to give the fans their full money’s worth. It was payback for the fans who lost out on a complete match in the fifth ODI on Saturday.
A tidy bowling display set the tone for the home side, who restricted the visitors to 134-7, Andile Phehlukwayo starring with 3-25 and David Miller putting in a tidy performance in his first start with the gloves, completing a simple catch and executing a neat stumping.
This set up what should have been a simple chase for the Proteas.
Reeza Hendricks, who was given another chance to prove himself as a deserving candidate for a ticket to the World Cup, only managed eight before he was run out in the fourth over.
Quinton de Kock (13) fell to a soft dismissal as he attempted to reverse paddle a length ball on leg stump, but he succeeded only in gloving to Niroshen Dickwella behind the stumps.
Things started to become more slippery for the Proteas when they lost skipper Faf du Plessis, which set them back at 52-3. However, the early dismissals of De Kock and Du Plessis gave the Proteas skipper what he had hoped to see during the curtailed fifth ODI – a chance for his batsmen to show their chasing capabilities down to the wire.
The Proteas lost three more wickets after an initial firm hold on the match. Rassie van der Dussen lost his wicket on 34, followed by the unnecessary run-out of Miller after an exciting 23-ball 41, his highest T20I score.
Andile Phehlukwayo hit one four and was then caught on the long-on boundary, and with four runs needed to win from seven balls, Kagiso Rabada was clean bowled by Lasith Malinga.
With three runs needed off two balls, JP Duminy (9) was run out and the Proteas finished on 134-8 at the end of the 20 overs for a tied result.
The Proteas batted first in the super over. Miller faced off against specialist death-bowling legend Malinga, and the Proteas hitman started with a single to put Van der Dussen on strike, who then took a single off the next ball to put Miller back on strike. He then pulled a clean six, followed by a dot ball, a four and a two off the last ball as the Proteas ended their six-ball spree on 14-0, with Miller contributing 13 of those runs.
Imran Tahir was trusted with the super over for the Proteas and he conceded just five runs as they sealed a comical win.
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