In what was a do or die clash for both the teams, we saw Sri Lanka defeat the South African team to pick up what seemed like an unlikely win after the first innings. A pitch that was offering assistance to the slower bowlers saw Dushmantha Chameera come up as an unlikely hero not just with the ball but also with the bat. Not many who do cricket match prediction would have been able to predict him as the matchwinner for his team. As it turns out he was the most efficient player with both bat and ball.
The game started with Keshav Maharaj sharing the new ball with Kagiso Rabada. A move that paid dividends for the South African team as he picked up 3 wickets in the game. He was ably assisted by the other spinners George Linda and Tabrez Shamsi.
Sri Lanka were restricted to just 203 in their 50 overs. They would thank their stars that the batted their entire quota of 50 overs because every run did count at the very end. They had some sizable contributions from Dhanajay De Silva who scored a brilliant 31 of 44 in a gritty display. He saw Charith Asalanka take his team to safety with a 47 of 71 which was nothing short of amazing. The finishing touches were added by Dushmantha Chameera who scored a valuable 29 of 39 in what was a counterattacking masterclass.
Dushmantha Chameera was brilliant with the ball too as he took 2 wickets for 16 runs in 4 overs. What changed the game though was a brilliant spell by Maheesh Theekshana. What the South Africans would have expected would have been a smooth sail into the series win as they would in an ideal world chase this down with some overs to spare. That never happened though as the Sri Lankans came in really spirited and had the South Africans 3 down in just 4 overs for 19 runs. When Chameera broke the back for the South African chase, the writing was always on the wall for the South Africans as they were staring down the barrel of a defeat that looked imminent.
Apart from Janneman Malan and Heinrich Klassen who scored their little 20s here and there, there was no solid partnership which took place and had any kind of impact whatsoever. The Sri Lankan onslaught was met with some resistance though by the lower order as Andile Phehlukwayo and George Linde scored a few important contributions for their team but as it turned out none of it was ever going to be enough. The South Africans ultimately folded for just 125 runs and could bat out only 30 overs against the spinning ball.
This would have worried the South African management a tad bit as there is an approaching T20 world cup and they really needed to correct their form and the chinks in their armor which they eventually did with T20 series. This was a massive change as they won the series 3-0 against Sri Lankans at their home. This was nothing short of exciting to see and they are certainly looking ready for the T20 world cup
The shared spoils show the progress of these two teams who in the modern era have actually spent a lot of time in their transitional phase. This may be the beginning of something good for both of these teams and that is going to be good as it will create competition in the world cricket and there will be more competition in the T20 world cup too