Tahir, Amla shape big Proteas’ win

- Agence France-Presse, LONDON

Jun 4, 2017-

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir and former captain Hashim Amla excelled in South Africa’s 96 run win over Sri Lanka in their Champions Trophy opener at The Oval on Saturday. 

South Africa posted 299-6 thanks to Amla’s 103 and Francois Du Plessis’s 75 and then restricted Sri Lanka to 203 in 41.3 overs after Tahir returned the figures of 4-27 in 8.3 overs. Sri Lanka got off to a good start reaching 87-1 at the end of the tenth over, but the introduction of Tahir in the 18th over turned the game firmly in South Africa’s favour. Skipper Upul Tharanga was the leading scorer for the Lankans making 57 off 69 balls with six boundaries, while Kusal Perera was stranded on 44 off 66 when Tahir got rid of last man Nuwan Pradeep.

Amla, 34-year-old, became the fastest batsman to 25 centuries having achieved the milestone in his 151st innings. It was his fifth ODI hundred against Sri Lanka. South Africa were slow out of the blocks after being put in to bat in overcast conditions. 

There were no boundaries in the first six overs and Sri Lanka — who suffered a huge blow before the start of play when captain Angelo Mathews was ruled out of the game with a calf strain — contained the world’s number one ranked team to 32 runs in the first 10 overs. Fast bowler Pradeep, who came on as first change, provided the breakthrough when Quinton de Kock was caught behind for 23. However, South Africa then made hay as Amla and Francois du Plessis added 145 runs for the second wicket — Lasith Malinga costing his side dear when he dropped Du Plessis at long-leg when he was on eight. The stand was broken when Du Plessis was spectacularly caught by Dinesh Chandimal at short mid-wicket for 75 as Pradeep came on for a fresh spell. Du Plessis faced 70 deliveries and hit six fours. Amla reached his half-century off 53 balls and brought up his 25th century in ODI cricket in 112 balls with a single to square leg off Suranga Lakmal. But Amla was run out in the next over after reaching three figures when he attempted a second run having turned Asela Gunaratne to mid-wicket and Kusal Mendis’ accurate throw found him short of his crease. 

Amla hit just five fours and two sixes for his 103 and faced 115 deliveries. Chris Morris and J.P. Duminy injected some late momentum as they added 45 runs for the sixth wicket off 32 deliveries. The stand was broken when Morris was run out by a direct hit from Upul Tharanga fielding at mid-off. Duminy finished things off in style, smashing Pradeep for a six in the last ball. He was 38 not out off 29 deliveries. 

While hosts England successfully chased 306 in the curtain-raiser of the competition on Thursday against Bangladesh at the same venue, Sri Lanka’s batsmen will face a tougher challenge as this match is being played on a different surface, where the ball was slow off the pitch.

 

Summary

South Africa 299-6 in 50 overs (H Amla 103, F du Plessis 75; N Pradeep 2-54, S Lakmal 1-51) beat Sri Lanka 203 all out in 41.3 overs (U Tharanga 57, K Perera 44 not out; I Tahir 4-27, C Morris 2-32) by 96 runs

Man-of-the-match: I Tahir (SA)

Published: 04-06-2017 08:59

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