Rusty South Africa outplayed by Sri Lanka

South Africa’s campaign to win their first world trophy since they won the first ICC Champions Trophy in 1998 got off to the worst possible start at Supersport Park on Tuesday when they lost
to Sri Lanka by in the opening match of the 2009 tournament.

Chasing a target of 320 to win, South Africa were on 206 for seven when the first rain of the summer brought play to a halt, leaving South Africa well short of the Duckworth-Lewis target of 260. South Africa won by 55 runs according to the rain-adjusted
target.

Hashim Amla was first to go, bowled by Angelo Mathews for two in just the third over. Smith and Jacques Kallis shared a second wicket stand of 81 before Smith was bowled by Ajantha Mendis for 58, shortly after reaching his 39th ODI half century.

A slimmed-down Kallis was next to go, caught by Mathews off Mendis for 41, and after that, South Africa lost wickets at regular intervals with players getting starts but not carrying on. AB De Villiers made 24, JP Duminy was out for a duck, Mark Boucher fell for 26 and Johan Botha made 21.

Just when Albie Morkel and Roelof van der Merwe started hitting out in the batting power play, the rain began falling and the crowd began leaving in droves.

Mendis took three wickets for 30, and Lasith Malinga and Mathews took two each.

Earlier, Sri Lanka made an impressive 319 for eight, thanks largely to a partnership of 158 between Tillekeratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara.

Dilshan made 106 off 92 balls before he was caught by Morkel off Dale Steyn, who was brought back into the attack in an attempt to get rid of the Sri Lankan opener, two overs after JP Duminy had
claimed Sangakkara’s wicket for 54 to end the partnership.

South Africa’s problems did not end with the dismissal of Dilshan and Sangakkara, who were replaced by Mahela Jayawardena and Thilan Samaraweera.

They put on 116 together before falling to Wayne Parnell off successive balls, with Jayawardena caught by Duminy for 77 and Samaraweera caught by Roelof van der Merwe for 37.

Although South Africa claimed five wickets in the last five overs, it was too late to prevent the Sri Lankans from putting on a score that was always going to be hard to chase down.

Steyn was the most economical of the bowlers, taking three for 47, while Parnell was the most expensive, conceding 79 for his three wickets.

The Proteas will be bitterly disappointed at their performance, as they were outplayed by Sri Lanka. They now have to win their other two group matches, against England and New Zealand, if they
are to reach the semifinals next weekend.

The South Africans were the only team in the tournament who have played no international cricket for three months, and their lack of competition showed. Hopefully, they will have shed some of their ring-rustiness before they take on New Zealand on Thursday. – Sapa

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