Proteas finally dazzle in comprehensive win over Sri Lanka but it doesn't matter

Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis of South Africa run as Suranga Lakmal of Sri Lanka looks on during the Group Stage match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 between Sri Lanka and South Africa at Emirates Riverside in Chester-le-Street, England on June 28 2019.
Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis of South Africa run as Suranga Lakmal of Sri Lanka looks on during the Group Stage match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 between Sri Lanka and South Africa at Emirates Riverside in Chester-le-Street, England on June 28 2019.
Image: Clive Mason/Getty Images

Dwaine Pretorius set it up and Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis got the job done to earn South Africa’s second win in eight games at the World Cup at the Riverside on Friday.

Pretorius played only his second match of the tournament and took 3/25 to play the major role in dismissing Sri Lanka for 203.

Amla scored 80 not out and Du Plessis made an undefeated 96 in South Africa’s reply of 206/1‚ their highest successful chase at this World Cup‚ which they reached with 12.4 overs to spare.

South Africa‚ who lost five of their previous seven games‚ were out of the running for a place in the semi-finals before the match.

Friday’s result left the Lankans’ hopes of progressing to the knockout rounds hanging by a thread.

The tone for the South Africans’ success was set with the first ball of the match‚ bowled by Kagiso Rabada‚ which blooped off the shoulder of Dimuth Karunaratne’s bat and flew to Faf du Plessis at second slip.

Karunaratne’s fate marked the 73rd instance of a player being dismissed by the first delivery of a men’s one-day international‚ but it’s the second time it’s happened to him.

Kusal Perrera and Avishka Fernando steadied the Lankans with a second-wicket stand of 67‚ but once they were separated‚ in the 10th over‚ when Fernando skied Pretorius to mid-off‚ South Africa were on a roll.

They took the last nine wickets for 136 runs with Chris Morris’ 3/46 and Rabada’s 2/36‚ his best performance in a disappointing tournament‚ supporting Pretorius.

JP Duminy‚ who will retire after the tournament‚ also took a wicket with his first ball of the match when Dhananjaya de Silva attempted a clumsy reverse sweep and was bowled.

Quinton de Kock lost his leg stump to Lasith Malinga’s yorker in the fifth over of South Africa’s reply.

But that was a small blip in his team’s march to victory‚ which was sealed in an unbroken stand of 175 between Amla and Du Plessis‚ South Africa’s highest stand of the tournament.

Amla found the form that has eluded him for much of the World Cup‚ scoring his second half-century.

He wasn’t fluent‚ facing 105 balls‚ but he played with some of his old authority and hit five boundaries.

Du Plessis made his third 50 of the tournament‚ a flinty 96 not out that came off 103 balls and featured 10 fours and a six.

South Africa end their campaign with a match against Australia at Old Trafford next Saturday.


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