David Miller top-scored fr South Africa with 18-ball 40 © Getty Images
David Miller top-scored fr South Africa with 18-ball 40 © Getty Images

South Africa went 1-0 up in the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka with a 19-run win in the first rain-marred T20I at Supersport Park, Centurion. South Africa batting first had put on 126 for 5 in 10 overs, after Sri Lanka had invited them to bat first. David Miller and Farhaan Behardien starred with the bat, while Nuwan Kulasekara was the most successful Sri Lankan bowler with a couple of wickets to his name. With two more T20Is left in the series, Sri Lanka will look to bounce back. South Africa are playing a relatively inexperienced side under stand-in captain Behardien and will be happy to get off the mark against a relatively experienced Sri Lankan side. However, here are the highlights of the match:

Six debutants: As many as six players made their T20I debuts in this match. South Africa, playing almost a second string side, had 5 from their  camp while Sri Lanka had just Thikshila de Silva – dismissed for a first-ball duck  on his debut. Theunis de Bruyn, Mangaliso Mosehle, Lungi Ngidi, Andlie Phehlukwayo and JJ Smuts played their first T20I for South Africa. This is the most number of T20I debutants South Africa have had since the nation made its debut in the shortest format in 2005.

Full Cricket Scorecard: South Africa vs Sri Lanka 1st T20I at Centurion

David Miller-Farhaan Behardien partnership: This 24-ball 51 stand for the fourth wicket between two of the experienced batsmen in the side put South Africa in cruise control. Miller smacked 18-ball 40, which included three fours and as many sixes. Behardien played second fiddle in that partnership and batted right till the end finishing with 31 off 18 balls.

Sri Lanka off to brisk start: Sri Lanka knew they had their task cut out, needing to score at 12.7 to win the match. The openers Niroshan Dickwella and Dhananjaya de Silva started off extremely well. They put on 59 in just 31 deliveries and had set the platform for the other batsmen before both  of them were undone by Imran Tahir, which brings us to…

Imran Tahir’s twin strike: Tahir had removed Dickwella for 19-ball 43 in the first ball of the sixth over and saw the back of de Silva off the final ball of the over to bring South Africa right back into the game.  Sri Lanka kept losing wickets one after the other after that and the scoreboard pressure took a toll on them. Tahir’s strike initially started to shift the momentum back to South Africa.

Full Cricket Updates: South Africa vs Sri Lanka, 1st T20I at Centurion

Heino Kuhn-Imran Tahir team work: Kusal Mendis made just 1, but his wicket was very memorable. Mendis pulled a short ball from Ngidi and Kuhn running across the boundary caught the ball and threw it to Tahir, who was following up. In the end, the catch went to Tahir, but credit has to be given to Kuhn for his excellent effort and quick thinking.

Angelo Mathews’ strange innings: Mathews promoted himself to No. 3, which was a positive move. But at no point did he seem like he was in control. His 8-ball innings produced just 6 runs. He came into bat in the sixth over and was finally out of his misery in the ninth over, when Sri Lanka were more or less out of the contest.

Lungi Ngidi’s memorable debut: Ngidi bowled extremely well on his international debut. He opened the bowling for South Africa and gave away 9 runs. But his second over was an excellent one. He got the wicket of Seekkuge Prasanna and Mendis and gave away just 3 runs in that over. He deservedly won the  Man of the Match for his performance.