A disastrous fielding performance from the Proteas and 68 from Niroshan Dickwella allowed Sri Lanka to win by five wickets and clinch the series.
It was yet another nail biter that went down to the last over at Newlands on Wednesday night, but once again it would be the Sri Lankans to emerge victorious, seeing off the 26 runs required for victory off the last two overs.
The hosts will blame themselves for the loss, for they put down five chances and let numerous other catchable opportunities go. The first two chances were arguably tough ones, but the seventh over saw three chances go down in successive deliveries off Wayne Parnell’s bowling, all of which should have been caught.
Two of the drops in that over were off the blade of Dickwella, who not only went on to score a match-winning 68, but he was also named Man of the Series for his consistent efforts at the top of the order throughout. Lungi Ngidi can consider himself unlucky not to take that honour after taking six wickets in his first two matches, and it could have been different if he wasn’t forced off the field after landing awkwardly just two overs into his spell.
The Proteas will have to regroup under the captaincy of AB de Villiers and a string of returning first-choice players, when the ODI series gets underway in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The hosts made three changes to the side that lost at the Wanderers on Sunday, bringing in Reeza Hendricks and debutant Dane Paterson for Heino Kuhn and Aaron Phangiso respectively, while AB de Villiers donned national colours for the first time since June last year, coming in for Theunis de Bruyn.
It would be De Villiers to star in the Proteas’ 169, smashing three sixes for his 44-ball 63. Hendricks chipped in with 41, while Mosehle blasted three sixes in the last over to finish with a handy cameo of 32 off 15 balls.
The response was solid from opening pair Upul Tharanga and Niroshan Dickwella, as they took their side to 36-0 after four overs. Wayne Parnell would be the man to find the breakthrough, bowling with excellent pace to see off Tharanga for 20. The slide continued with Imran Tahir’s very first ball in the next over, starting with a quicker one to clean bowl the danger man Dinesh Chamdimal for five.
What happened from there was calamitous from the Proteas. There were already two dropped catches going into the Parnell’s second and his team’s seventh over, before the three drops in a row left Parnell, and indeed the side, demoralised.
Dickwella rode his luck and continued to bat with freedom, eventually bringing up his maiden half-century off 34 balls. The partnership he built up with Denanjaya de Silva (19) stretched to 71 as they appeared to be closing in on victory.
The 16th over changed the tide as Imran Tahir accounted for both batsmen. Just when they thought they had the upper hand however, Seekkuge Prasanna had other ideas, batting inventively for his 37 off 16 balls to finish off a famous victory for the islanders.
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