Hashim Amla scored an unbeaten 56 to guide South Africa to an eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their last game of the World T20 tournament on Monday.
It wasn’t the exciting finish many fans had hoped for as South Africa took their sweet time in chasing down the 121 runs they needed for victory.
Instead the Proteas went safety first and ended their sorry tournament with a victory which will mean very little in any context.
In the end, all the fans who attended the game in the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi wanted to see was their favourite, AB de Villiers, bat. They had to wait 13 overs before that happened, and no one will blame the umpire for giving Faf du Plessis out lbw even though he clearly got a massive inside edge onto his pads.
By that time Du Plessis (31 from 36) and Hashim Amla, who was dropped on 11, had kept things tidy with plenty of singles and the occasional boundary, but it was a slow finish to a predictable result which pretty much summed up South Africa’s World T20 campaign.
Quinton de Kock has earlier been run-out in a manner very similar to Amla’s run-out in the previous game against West Indies. This time De Kock had to walk back after finding himself a long way from his crease going for a run which was never on.
When De Villiers joined Amla in the middle he took some time to get himself, but once he was he hit 20 from 12 balls, including a six to win the game.
After getting off to a flyer, South Africa’s slow bowlers did the trick as they bowled Sri Lanka out for 120 in 19.3 overs.
Sri Lanka raced to 45 in the first five overs before they lost their first wicket, Dinesh Chandimal getting himself clean bowled by Aaron Phangiso (2-26).
The left-armer found himself on a hat-trick ball after bowling Lahiru Thirimanne first ball and allowing South Africa to reel in the scoring rate.
Tillakaratne Dilshan (36) hung around for a while but the wickets kept falling around him. Dale Steyn, back in the XI for Kagiso Rabada, again struggled to keep the runs to a minimum as the batsmen used his pace to hit boundaries.
The middle order all failed to make useful contributions as Du Plessis employed Imran Tahir (1-18) and Farhaan Behardien (2-15) to great affect in drying up the runs.
There was little intensity during the Sri Lanka innings and South Africa should have little trouble chasing down a below-par score on this wicket.