DURHAM: An unbroken century stand between Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla salvaged some pride for South Africa as they thrashed Sri Lanka by nine wickets in Durham.
The Proteas were already out of the World Cup semi-final reckoning after winning just one of their first seven fixtures, but they doubled that tally at the Riverside, chasing down the target of 204 with 12.4 overs to spare. Captain Du Plessis struck 96 not out from 103 deliveries, sharing a second-wicket partnership of 175 with Amla (80 from 105), with both players registering their highest scores of the tournament to date.
Sri Lanka’s defeat all but snuffs out their prospects of qualifying for the last four, barring an unlikely sequence of results in the remaining group games. Having won the toss, Du Plessis put Sri Lanka in – and they made the worst possible start when captain Dimuth Karunaratne misjudged Kagiso Rabada’s first ball and gloved it to second slip.
However, Avishka Fernando – who had struck a bubbly 49 in his side’s win against England – took up the baton again in the powerplay, accumulating 30 from 29 balls. He and Kusal Perera (30) added 67 for the second wicket before the pair both departed in successive overs from the impressive Dwaine Pretorius, who marked his return to the side with figures of 3-25.