Sri Lanka vs South Africa 1st T20: JP Duminy inspires South Africa to victory in low-scoring thriller

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Duminy’s outstanding batting and bowling figures gave South Africa a 1-0 lead

South African all-rounder Jean Paul (JP) Duminy was the star of the show with both the bat and ball as he inspired the Proteas to a 12-run win over Sri Lanka in a thrilling low-scoring affair.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat first, South Africa Twenty20 captain Faf Du Plessis explained his decision, stating: “We have wanted to bat first on this wicket for quite some time now. Our teams has lots of character and we want to show that to the fans back home.”

However, things did not start off well for the Proteas as Sri Lankan spinner Sachithra Senanayake took out their top three batsmen.

The middle order batsmen fared no better as they just failed to find an answer to Sri Lanka’s bowling attack.

A 56-run partnership between Duminy and David Miller at a run rate of 6.58 helped stabilise the South African innings before Miller was caught out for 25 off the bowling of Lasith Malinga.

Duminy soon brought up his half-century and helped take South Africa to a dismal total of 115 at the end of their 20 overs.

Duminy ended up scoring 51 runs off 52 balls, which included three boundaries and a six before being dismissed by Ajantha Mendis.

Senanayake was definitely the pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers as he claimed three victims, while Malinga, Mendis and Angelo Mathews all chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing a rather straightforward target of 116 to win, Sri Lanka found themselves on the back foot early on into their innings as opening batsman Kusal Perera and skipper Dinesh Chandimal were dismissed cheaply.

The entire middle and lower order, with the exception of Kumar Sangakkara, fared no better as none of them were even able to reach double figures.

Sangakkara gave Sri Lanka some hope of winning the match with an unbeaten 59 off 53 balls, which included nine boundaries, but in the end, it was too little too late as the Sri Lankans fell 13 runs short of their target.

Duminy caused the most damage as he took three wickets, while Morne Morkel and Wayne Parnell chipped in with two wickets apiece and Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Imran Tahir both snapped up one wicket each.

Chandimal was embarrassed by his team’s performance and their inability to score 116 runs off 20 overs.

“We did well in the first half, Sachithra bowled really well,” he said. “We lost early wickets, then we hit a few rash shots. Sanga is in good form, but others hit a few rash shots. We have two more games and are looking forward to them.”

Du Plessis was proud of his team’s fight and never give up attitude throughout the game, and said: “Very chuffed, so proud of the boys, we were under pressure after the ODIs, great character. We are playing a world class team excellent in their skills, we have some outstanding fielders, that is our way of creating pressure. I thought it was a good score on this wicket, I told them if we keep fighting, we will pull it through.”

Duminy was named the Man of the Match for his brilliant innings of 51 and his three wickets.

“Went well with the bat and exceptionally with the ball,” he said. “Little bit of consistency for me with the bat, pretty happy. Facing the Sri Lankan spinners is something we have to look at. We are going to celebrate this win, it has been far and few for us on this tour.”

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