Sri Lanka beat South Africa by 67 runs in their fifth-place playoff semi-final at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua this past Sunday.
The Sri Lankans picked themselves up well from the disappointment of their heartbreaking four-run defeat by Afghanistan in the World Cup quarter-finals, putting on 232-6 in their 50 overs, thanks in large part to the brilliance of captain Dunith Wellalage.
Wellalage’s outstanding 113 came from 130 balls, with the Sri Lanka skipper coming in with his side in trouble on 25-3, and only falling in the penultimate over as he looked to add some fast runs late on.
The 19-year-old all-rounder has been one of the tournament’s star acts, and he followed up his match-defining century with a tidy spell of left-arm spin to return figures of 1-29 from his six overs.
For South Africa, Matthew Boast, Kwena Maphaka and Dewald Brevis were among the wickets in a mixed afternoon for the bowling attack.
And it was a sub-par effort with the bat from the Junior Proteas, too, with the rest of the batting lineup unable to step up when tournament top-scorer Brevis (six) failed to pass 50 for the first time in his five matches at the World Cup.
Sri Lanka had won the toss and Wellalage chose to bat, but openers Chamindu Wickramasinghe and Sadisha Rajapaksa could put on only 14 for the first wicket as Kwena Maphaka bowled Rajapaksa.
Wickramsinghe fell to the left-arm seamer three balls later before Sakuna Liyanage went for an eight-ball duck to bring Wellalage out to the middle – with Sri Lanka precarious on 25-3.
The captain added 62 runs alongside Shevon Daniel before forming an even bigger partnership with Ranuda Somarathne, putting on 130 runs for the fifth wicket.
Wellalage was eventually dismissed by Maphaka, but only after hitting his first century of the tournament. And Somarathne ended on 57* as Sri Lanka set South Africa a chase of 232.
Opener Jade Smith was run out for one as Sri Lanka took regular wickets to stint South Africa’s progress, with the required total ultimately falling out of reach.
Brevis was next to go, before Ronan Hermann and Gerhardus Maree added 34 and 44, respectively, to move South Africa to 112-6.
The Junior Proteas were scoring above the required run rate, but frequent dismissals hampered their progress as the Sri Lanka bowlers split the wickets between them.
And wicketkeeper Anjala Bandara took his second stumping of the innings to dismiss Maphaka and finish the game off.