Udana Particular In Vain, As South Africa's Safeguarding Of The Series To Win > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Udana special in vain as South Africa secure series win

Isuru Udana stroked 8 boundaries and 6 sixes

Isuru Udana's 48-ball 84*, on Friday, went in vain as South Africa registered a 16-run win at the SuperSport Park to secure an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match T20I series. A game that seemed lost for the visitors much before it eventually did, was brought to life for a few fleeting minutes by Udana's long-handle power-hitting. From 98 off 37 balls, the requirements came down to 26 off 5 - losing only two wickets (Dananjaya and Malinga) in the process, with Udana smashing 8 boundaries and 6 sixes in his enterprising knock.

The chase had suffered a dent in the very first over, when Dale Steyn accounted for the wickets of Avishka Fernando and Kusal Mendis. Sri Lanka, despite showing some glimpses of aggression, could never find themselves at par in the contest from thereon.

However, the most decisive over of the chase proved to be the fourth one of the innings, when Chris Morris struck twice in the last two balls and delivered a double-wicket maiden to leave the visitors reeling at 31 for 4.

Thisara Perera carved a six over the mid wicket region, to go with a couple of boundaries, but the South African bowlers ensured he continued to be on a leash with Tabraiz Shamsi getting the ball to turn away from him. His threat was, however, cut short by Dwaine Pretorius when a pull was top edged to give debutant Sinethemba Qeshile his second catch of the game.

Shamsi kept things quiet in the middle overs, and even accounted for the wickets of Angelo Perera - by inducing an outside edge off a googly to JP Duminy at slip, and Akila Dananjaya in the death.

Tight lines and alert work in the infield ensured that singles were not easy to come by, prompting the batsmen to settle between dots and big heaves. The only big error from South Africa on the field came from skipper Duminy, who dropped a sitter while coming under a top-edged skier from Dhananjaya de Silva in the 14th over. Nonetheless, he made up for it by quickly collecting the ball and running him out at the non striker's end.

Duminy's drama on the field didn't end there. A few overs later, he managed to have Udana caught at long on after being hit for a six and a four off consecutive deliveries only to find that he had overstepped. Udana made him pay for the error and powered his way to a 33-ball half-century, and almost threatened to bring Sri Lanka back in the chase, and almost threatened to bring Sri Lanka back in the chase. Sri Lanka stretched their innings till the 20th over, but a realistic chance of being in the contest had ended much earlier, only for Udana to keep the flag of the unexpected in T20s fluttering for a brief while.

The platform for South Africa's innings was laid by Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen. Put in to bat, the hosts lost debutant Aiden Markram early as he went early on his shot over the infield to a slower delivery by Isuru Udana, only to chip it to the fielder at mid on. A slew of slower deliveries by the pacers and Akila Dananjaya's tight lines, kept the hosts in check in the initial overs.

The need to up the scoring rate forced Hendricks and van der Dussen to play some rusty strokes. But once the run rate picked up, the pressure started showing in the opposition camps with a few fumbles on the field.

The first signs of clean charge began in the sixth over when Hendricks cracked a couple of crisp boundaries to help the hosts post 39 in the powerplay. However, it was van der Dussen who shifted the innings to a higher gear. Thisara Perera became his first and the easiest target of bullying, slogging him for a six over the mid wicket region in the eight over. He carted two more, and bigger, in the same area in Perera's next over to pace the total to 82 for 1 in 10 overs.

While van der Dussen was playing the aggressor, Hendricks happily turned the strike over. One of the key features of their stand was the reluctance to take quick singles or even risk a two, probably prompted from three run outs in the previous match. Nonetheless, after the half-way mark of the innings, Hendricks too unleashed a flurry of boundaries, cracking as many as nine fours in his 46-ball 65 - his third T20I fifty, before falling to Lasith Malinga on his return spell.

However, by then, the duo had stitched 116 for the second wicket - a record stand for South Africa's second wicket pair - and laid a strong base for the late flourish.

Van der Dussen, who stroked his second T20I fifty, fell soon after when he was bowled by Dananjaya's yorker. However, with less than four overs remaining, JP Duminy and David Miller's task was cut out, there was only one approach expected of them. While Duminy managed two hits over the fence in his brief 17-ball blitz of 33*, Miller struggled against Malinga's slower balls. Barring a freak boundary off the last ball of the innings, it was a troubled stay, ending at a run-a-ball 9. However, South Africa managed to post 180, just above par at Centurion, and certainly far beyond Sri Lanka's reach.

Brief Scores: South Africa 180/3 in 20 overs (Reeza Hendricks 65, Rassie van der Dussen 64; Lasith Malinga 1-26, Akila Dananjaya 1-31) beat Sri Lanka 164/9 in 20 overs (Isuru Udana 84*, Thisara Perera 22; Chris Morris 3-32, Tabraiz Shamsi 2-16) by 16 runs

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