AB de Villiers begins with a record win
Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman AB de Villiers’ South Africans dealt his teammate Tillakaratne Dilshan’s Sri Lankans a record loss by 258 runs in the first of the 5 ODIs between the two sides played at Paarl.
A century from Hashim Amla along with two very fluent fifties from Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers, in his first match as South Africa’s ODI skipper took SA to 301/8 in their 50 overs before incisive bowling, especially from Morne Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe saw them shoot out Sri Lanka for just 43 runs, their lowest score in ODIs.
Getting his call right, de Villiers won a good toss and had no hesitations in choosing to bat first. The blonde slinger Lasith Malinga was expected to give SL the edge they sorely lacked in the Test series and he delivered, sending back Graeme Smith early in the SA innings.
Hashim Amla added 144 runs with Jacques Kallis (72) for the second wicket and 91 runs with de Villiers (52) for the third wicket as SA looked to post a 300+ total easily. Amla brought up his century off 114 balls, a solid anchoring role complimenting the free flowing knocks of Kallis and de Villiers.
Albie Morkel pitched in with 25 off 17 in his return to the SA national side but his dismissal in the 46th over saw Sri Lanka mount a superb fightback. From 279/4 in 45.1 overs, they somehow scraped their way to 301/8 as Malinga ran riot, finishing with figures of 5/54.
Carnage followed as SL got off to a horrible start, losing both their openers for a duck. Morne Morkel began, removing Upul Tharanga, Tsotsobe then removed Tillkaratne Dilshan for a nine ball duck and Dinesh Chandimal. Sangakkara made 4 before edging one behind off Morne, Angelo Mathews didn’t even survive the over, fending a steeply rising delivery to the hands of Robin Peterson at short leg.
Jayawardene soon cut a ball straight to the hands of point and SL were 13/6 in just the 8th over with SA’s best bowler Dale Steyn yet to be introduced into the attack.
The Kulasekaras Nuwan and Kosala defied SA briefly before Steyn removed Nuwan with another bouncer, leaving SL stumbling at 24/7. Just when it seemed that Malinga and Kosala Kulasekara would take SL past the ODI record low score of 35, Robin Peterson bowled the former, leaving SL at 33/8.
Kulasekara was given LBW off Albie Morkel in the next over but successfully reviewed the decision and with Ajantha Mendis, carried SL to 43 when he became the ninth wicket to fall. His 19 was SL’s only two digit score in an innings which contained 4 ducks.
Dilhara Fernando fell to Peterson off the first ball of the next over and unsuccessfully reviewed the decision. The original decision was upheld giving SA a giant 258 run win over SL in just 20.1 overs, the largest margin of victory between two Test playing nations considering SA’s 272 run win against Zimbabwe came in 2010 when Zimbabwe were temporarily stripped off their Test status.
Morne Morkel was named Man of the Match for his 4/10 in six overs.
It was a highly contrasting match for two RCB players, for de Villiers on his captaincy it was a dream while Dilshan declared it to as the worst game in his career. SL fought back from their abject defeat at Centurion in the Test series, Dilshan will want them to do the same ahead of the second ODI at East London on Friday, January 14th.