Image courtesy of: India Times
Miller’s 36 ensured South Africa earned redemption for their failure during the ODI series
South Africa batsman David Miller helped his side take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match Twenty20 series thanks to his quickfire 36 and some excellent all-round bowling by the Proteas.
South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis won the toss and elected to bat first.
Explaining his decision to do so, du Plessis said: “looks like a good wicket, we need to put a score on the board and put them under pressure.”
However, du Plessis may have been regretting his decision to bat first, especially after the poor start the South African batsmen made as openers Henry Davids and Quinton de Kock, along with du Plessis himself, were all dismissed cheaply.
The hero of the first Twenty20, Jean Paul (JP) Duminy once again helped out with the bat, scoring 30 runs off 23 balls, which included three boundaries, before being dismissed by Sri Lankan spinner Sachithra Senanayake.
With the Proteas heading towards an under-par score, Miller stepped up and blazed his way to 36 off 21 deliveries, which included one boundary and two sixes before being caught out off the bowling of Nuwan Kulasekara.
South Africa eventually finished on 145 at the end of their 20 overs.
Senanayake and Kulasekara both took two wickets apiece for Sri Lanka, while Lasith Malinga chipped in with one wicket.
Chasing a target of 146 to win, Sri Lanka found themselves in a world of trouble early on into their innings as three of their top batsmen were back in the pavilion with only 48 runs on the board.
Sri Lanka wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara stabilised the innings with a brilliant 39 off 35 balls, which included four boundaries, before he too was dismissed by South African pace bowler Morne Morkel.
Sangakkara’s wicket sparked the collapse of Sri Lanka’s middle and lower order and despite all-rounder Thisara Perera’s 22 runs off 20 deliveries, which included two boundaries, the Sri Lankans found themselves 23 runs short of their target at the end of their 20 overs.
Morkel and Lonwabo Tsotsobe were the pick of the South African bowlers with two wickets apiece, while Wayne Parnell, David Wiese and Imran Tahir all snapped up one wicket each.
Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal was disappointed to have lost the game and series, but praised Sangakkara for his fighting effort.
“I think it was a gettable score, we just didn’t bat well, that’s why we lost the game,” he said. “I think Kusal and Sangakkara batted really well in the first 8-9 overs, after that we hit some rash shots, that’s why we lost the game.”
Meanwhile, du Plessis was pleased to have won the Twenty20 series after the Proteas were dominated 4-1 in the ODI series.
“What a feeling, I thought we played a great game of cricket, to get 140 with the wind out there, tactically we were very good with the bowling,” he said. “Bowlers have clear minds about what they want to do. We haven’t been great up top in the batting, we’ll be working hard on to. Huge character shown after what happened in the ODI series. Sri Lanka showed no mercy in the ODIs, and we certainly don’t want to be showing them any. We want to climb up the Twenty20 rankings.”
Miller was declared the Man of the Match for his quickfire 36, and said: “JP batted really well, it was unbelievably good team effort. It was a bit of a gale force, but it was really good out there.”