If a T20I game goes down to the wire, and I mean Super Over by this, you have to admit it must be a spectacle to watch. Sri Lanka has had an up and down tour to South Africa, starting with a remarkable maiden test series victory on Proteas’ shore, followed by a 5-0 drubbing in ODI series, and now this thriller of an opening first T20 which the Proteas won the in the super over. Here are five takeaways from SA vs SL 1st T20I.
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Sri Lanka’s Spin Bowling
Sri Lanka is much like Pakistan when it comes to defending totals, especially in the limited over formats. While their performance may not be very good in recent years, Sri Lanka enjoys a very good record in T20Is, especially in the mega events.
Coming back to the point, it was the spinners (and Lasith Malinga) who curbed the flow of runs and choked the opposition so badly that chasing a meager target of 135 looked like a tough ask. The spinners, Dhananjaya de Silva, Akila Dananjaya and Jeffery Vandersey took a wicket each but never went above the economy of 7 runs an over. With dashers like David Miller, JP Duminy and Faf du Plessis, it was always going to be hard for spinners to restrict South Africa below the target. The tight bowling also induced three run-outs which changed the outlook of the game.
Imran Tahir Still The Go-to Man
While Sri Lankan spinners were good, Imran Tahir was brilliant. In his four overs, he gave away only 21 runs and removed their highest run-getter Kamindu Mendis, who scored 41.
How often have you seen a spinner come out to bowl a Super Over, and that too in South Africa? Imran Tahir was once again the go-to bowler for skipper du Plessis as the leg-spinner gave away only 5 runs while defending 15. This included two wides as well.
With Imran Tahir retiring from ODIs after the World Cup 2019, South Africa will have a huge void to fill. Tabraiz Shamsi is in the mix however, Tahir is a class apart.
Lasith Malinga Not Giving Up Easy
The old legs of Lasith Malinga are not tiring any time soon and he proved it once again. He made sure that a target of 135 was not a walk in the park for the Proteas, taking 2 wickets for 11 runs in his 4 overs. 16 dots and an economy of 2.75 speaks volumes about 35-year old’s abilities with the ball.
South Africa, The Chokers?
It’s World Cup year and South Africa are once again giving the impression of chokers.
Choking at big events is a phenomenon very much known to the South Africans and du Plessis would hope that this is not the case this time around.
South Africa almost choked while chasing a small target if not for David Miller. He was the difference when it comes to batting.
David Miller The Finisher
David Miller has proved time and again that he is one of the best finishers around in the world cricket. First 41 off 23 and then 15 runs in the Super Over, including a four and six off the last two balls, made sure he saved the day for the hosts. He was declared the Man of the Match for his performance with the bat.
The 2nd T20 between the two teams will be played on 22nd March.