Dilshan, AB shine as Sri Lanka take first dead rubber
Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman and Sri Lankan captain Tillkaratne Dilshan’s 87 helped his side trump South Africa who were helped by AB de Villiers’ 96 by 5 wickets in the fourth ODI at Kimberley.
Runs from ex skipper Graeme Smith and new skipper AB de Villiers saw South Africa post 299/7 in their 50 overs which Sri Lanka overhauled with contributions from skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dinesh Chandimal and Thisara Perera, getting across the line at 304/5 in 48.4 overs.
Winning the toss and choosing to bat first, South Africa got runs from the under fire Graeme Smith to begin their innings. He was helped by the bowlers who bowled repeatedly on his pads, helping him pinch easy runs and even step out to attack.
He put up 84 runs for the opening partnership with Alviro Peterson and the tempo only grew when AB de Villiers walked in at no. 3. The duo added 87 runs in just 64 balls, de Villiers smashing his 50 in just 31 balls. Smith was dismissed for 68, the score 171/2 in 23.5 overs, Colin Ingram followed him for just 1 run and that was the break SL needed to apply the brakes.
AB de Villiers and Duminy only managed to add 70 runs in the next 15 overs as SL’s bowlers regrouped to deny the batsmen easy runs. Duminy went on 36 in the 39th over and de Villiers followed on 96 two overs later. Faf du Plessis was dismissed in the next over as SA slid to 252/6. Robin Peterson, Wayne Parnell and Vernon Philander were offered little freedom to slog and SA only managed to reach 299/7. They managed only 128 runs for 6 wickets in 26 overs from looking good at 171/1 in the 24th over earlier.
Upul Tharanga went early in SL’s chase but Tillakaratne Dilshan was aggressive in his batting, countering the short balls that were initially directed at him to set the team on their way. He added 83 runs in 79 balls with Sangakkara for the second wicket and 68 for the third wicket with Chandimal. His fifty came off 50 balls, including 7 fours and 2 sixes, showing intent and he was the third wicket to fall, gone for a run-a-ball 87.
Playing an anchor role, Chandimal lost Thirimanne at other end just before the powerplay in the 5th over with the score at 194/4, the required run rate threatening to cross 7. Perera, promoted ahead of Angelo Mathews, joined him but was LBW to Parnell in the very next over. A referral revealed that the delivery was a huge no ball and Perera made his second chance count, as the two looted 48 runs off the powerplay, surviving a comical run out in the process.
Chandimal’s dismissal for 58 with 54 required off 54 balls didn’t stop the free flowing Perera. Dropped catches and fielding below the SA standard saw him and Angelo Mathews collect the remaining runs calmly, milking the pacers while attacking Robin Peterson’s slow left arm bowling.
SL reached the target when Perera slammed Duminy for a six in the 49th over, winning their first ODI in the series with 8 balls to spare. Perera finished on 69* off 44 balls with 3 fours and 5 sixes and took the Man of the Match award for his amazing knock.
The win, coming too late in the series had its share of luck for the Lankans, their batsmen enjoyed a couple of overturned LBW decisions, some botched run out attempts and dropped catches but the Lankans will take every bit of respectability that comes to the series score line now.