The third and final T20I was an encore Sri Lanka least hoped for. After their one-sided loss in the second game, it was a similar story for the hosts in the third as South Africa went on to win the series 3-0 and underline the progress they’ve made as a side in spin-friendly conditions of the subcontinent.
Match summary inside 100 words …
Sri Lanka won the toss once again, making three changes this time. There was no Anrich Nortje but the hosts lost two in the powerplay to Kagiso Rabada, who looked in fine touch after an off game day before. Kusal Perera looked the best batsman for them before falling in the middle overs once again as Sri Lanka imploded to 120/8. Quinton de Kock scored a fifty but this time had the company of Reeza Hendricks right till the end as the visitors won by ten wickets with 5.2 overs to spare.
So where did Sri Lanka go wrong?
If it was their game against spin last night, it was their rushed approach that cost them tonight. The batsmen went hard at everything in the powerplay, lost wickets in the process and could never recover from that stutter. South Africa were able to bowl dry in the middle overs, getting two overs from Aiden Markram for only two runs. In fact, the four spinners in the side bowled 14 overs among them and had combined figures of 4 for 66.
How did they get to 120?
Once Kusal Perera (39 off 33) was out in the 13th over, caught lbw by Keshav Maharaj at the end of the 13th over, it always looked like Sri Lanka would collapse. They went on to lose the next two wickets for only six runs but Chamika Karunaratne’s 24 not out off 19 balls, which included a couple off Shamsi and Wiaan Mulder, helped Sri Lanka finish relatively well.
What about South Africa’s batting …
Even better than last time. Taking a cue from de Kock, Hendricks (56* off 42) played the sweep and got a half-century this time with the help of 4 fours and 1 six, showing how to bat in these conditions. De Kock finished on 59* off 46 balls, toying with the spinners at will as the Sri Lankan found it difficult to grip the ball and purchase spin once the dew set in. De Kock was adjudged both the Player of the Match and the Player of the series.
Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 120/8 in 20 overs (Perera 39; Fortuin 2-21) lost to South Africa 121/0 in 14.4 overs (De Kock 59*, Hendricks 56*) by 10 wickets.