Saturday, June 3, 2017

ICC Champions Trophy 2017 : South Africa vs Sri Lanka

The 3rd match of the tournament was between potential Champions South Africa & regular dark horses Sri Lanka. The Isle islanders won the toss & put Proteas into bat - a very bold decision, with Capt Angelo Mathews sitting out due to injury.

Having restricted the South Africans from breaking loose & stifling them to a total of 299 runs, The Lankans started in whirlwind fashion & raked up 87 runs in the first 10 overs, for the loss of only one wicket. At that point, the South African bowling looked in tatters & completely listless & the Lankans looked good to stage an upset...maybe !!!
But, then in the 17th over, they first lost Chamdimal to a brilliant throw from ABD & then Tahir removed Kapugedera - the Lankans lost steam after that, & while step in Capt Tharanga battled to a half century & Perera scored 40+ runs, wickets kept tumbling at regular intervals & the target kept getting farther away. In the end, South Africa romped home with a 96 run win in the 42nd over. Tahir was sensational with 4 for 27 runs to bag the Man of Match award.

Earlier in the game, the Sri Lankan bowlers were very focussed & bowled well within their limitations & did not allow the situation to overawe them as the South African openers Amla & deKock found the proceedings difficult to get about - only 32 runs came in the first 10 overs & the normally fluent deKock struggled & eventually got out for a scratchy 23 runs off deliveries. Du Plessis came in & along with Amla got the momentum back & by the 30th over, the South African innings looked in good stead with 163 runs on board & both the batsmen chugging along merrily with half centuries under their belt. They stitched a valuable partnership of 145 runs, but then the innings stuttered again as wickets started to tumble & suddenly it was 7 wickets down for just 277 runs in the 47th over. Duminy with some lusty hitting towards the end took the score to 299 runs - a far cry from a certain 330 - 340 runs. Amla got a well deserved hundred becoming the quickest batsmen to reach 25 hundreds in 151 innings & Du Plessis got a nice 78. It was hard to see batsmen struggling to hit the big boundaries in the slog overs, as the pitch, though not a belter, held no demons & the sky was clear blue - it was not the clinical South African innings, that we normally see.
However, in the end, it turned out to be a good total to defend & start the campaign with an emphatic win.