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David Miller, one of the most experienced players in the team, scored 18-ball 41 in the first T20I to set up South African win Getty Images

After a disappointing Test series, the touring Sri Lankan side must have hoped for revival of fortunes in the three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series against hosts South Africa. The fact that the hosts were fielding a depleted side, with Farhaan Behardien as the captain, must have further strengthened their belief of having a good series in the shortest format. However, the new-look South African side that fielded as many as five debutants in the first T20I at Centurion, deflated the Sri Lankan hopes of their maiden win on the tour by pocketing the game. The rain-curtailed tie, which was 10-overs-per-side contest, was won by South Africa by 19 runs.

However, what Sri Lanka can take confidence from is the fact that it was a competitive game. Unlike the Test series, where South Africa dominated the proceedings and all the contests thus were one-sided, the first T20I was a close contest for most part of the game. Batting first, South Africa put 126 for 5 on board. The new players at the top played handy cameos, but it was the experienced duo of David Miller (18-ball 41) and Behardien (18-ball 31*) that took the game away from Sri Lanka. In conditions where 110 would have been a par score, South Africa got 16 odd runs in excess. The absence of Lasith Malinga was felt in the Sri Lankan camp.

Full Cricket Scorecard: South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2nd T20I at Johannesburg

In reply, the visitors started on a brilliant note in pursuit of the challenging target. The opening pair of Niroshan Dickwella (19-ball 43) and Dhananjaya de Silva (16-ball 27) put up 59 runs on board in 5 overs. But once the two were dismissed in quick succession, Sri Lanka lost the plot. The remaining wickets fell at regular intervals. The batsmen came and started hitting from the word go, which resulted in flurry of boundaries as well as wickets. For South Africa, veteran spinner Imran Tahir and debutant Lungi Ngidi were the pick of the bowlers with 2 wickets each. Ngidi, in particular, impressed all and sundry with his pace and accuracy.

The second game shall be played at Johannesburg and will have an early start. The wicket at Wanderers is yet again expected to provide a run-fest. Unlike the first game, which was rain-marred, the weather forecast for second T20I suggests clear skies and no possibility of rains. South Africa may not tamper with the winning XI and same with Sri Lanka, who though lost the game, but would stick to their XI that did reasonably well in the first game.


South Africa: Farhaan Behardien (c), Theunis de Bruyn, Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Heino Kuhn, David Miller, Mangaliso Mosehle (wk), Lungi Ngidi, Wayne Parnell, Dane Paterson, Aaron Phangiso, Andile Phehlukwayo, JJ Smuts

Sri Lanka: Angelo Mathews (c), Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Thikshila de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Nuwan Pradeep, Asela Gunaratne, Danushka Gunathilaka, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Kusal Mendis, Sachith Pathirana, Seekkuge Prasanna, Lakshan Sandakan, Isuru Udana

TIME: 12.30 GMT | 18.00 IST

Full Cricket Scorecard: South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2nd T20I at Johannesburg