Saturday, 31 July 2021

South Africa look to secure T20 series over Sri Lanka

CENTURION: South Africa: South Africa look to secure another series over Sri Lanka with victory in their second T20 international against Sri Lanka here on Sunday (today). Fowing their 3-0 triumph in the Test series, South Africa took a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20 series with a 19-run win in the rain-affected opener in Centurion, on Friday. Debutant 20-year-old fast bowler, Lungi Ngidi, bowled with impressive pace and was named man of the match after taking 2-12. David Miller (40 off 18 balls) also impressed for the hosts, hitting three sixes and three fours. He and new captain Farhaan Behardien (31no off 18) put on 51 runs together for the fourth wicket. In a year with no World T20, it would be easy to forget the shortest format exists at international level, but South Africa and Sri Lanka are doing their bit to keep it alive and kicking. The three-match whirlwind series takes place in five days and will feature an almost entirely new-look South African outfit. Only four members of the squad that played in the World T20 last March, 10 months ago, have been included in the 13-man group for the first two matches as South Africa look to the future. They have assembled the best players from the last two seasons’ domestic T20 competition, and given an opportunity to veterans like Heino Kuhn, who has played professional cricket for more than a decade, and rookies like Lungi Ngidi, who at 20 has already featured in two franchise T20 finals. Of particular interest will be Jon-Jon Smuts, who may make a case as a long-term opening option and Theunis de Bruyn, whose star is rising in all formats.

Sri Lanka’s squad has a more familiar hue but with one superstar omission. Lasith Malinga has failed to regain fitness after a bout of dengue fever and had to make himself unavailable for the South Africa tour, leaving Suranga Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep to carry the seam-bowling responsibilities along with recalled players, Nuwan Kulasekara and Isuru Udana. With only one new batsmen in their ranks, Thikshila de Silva, Sri Lanka will look to their line-up to do a better job than they managed in the Tests even though their form in shorter formats has not been particularly promising. Still, such an inexperienced host side may present Sri Lanka with their best chance to enjoy some success. “We wanted David to face as many balls as possible and it paid off,” said Behardien of the decision to move Miller up to No 4 in the 10-overs-a-side contest. The skipper was also full of praise for Ngidi: “His bowling was outstanding. What a prospect!” Reflecting on another defeat, Sri Lanka captain, Angelo Mathews, praised his bowlers for restricting South Africa to 126, but rued his side’s failure to capitalise after a good start with the bat. “I think the bowlers did pretty well,” he said. “We got off to a good start in reply, which we needed, but after that we didn’t have any partnerships.”

South Africa squad: Farhaan Behardien (captain), Theunis de Bruyn, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Heino Kuhn, David Miller, Mangaliso Mosehle, Lungi Ngidi, Wayne Parnell, Dane Paterson, Aaron Phangiso, Andile Phehlukwayo, J J Smuts.

Sri Lanka squad: Angelo Mathews (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thikshila de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Nuwan Pradeep, Asela Gunaratne, Dunushka Gunathilaka, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Kusal Mendis, Sachith Pathirana, Seekkuge Prasanna, Lakshan Sandakan, Isuru Udana.

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