THE Blue Label Telecoms Proteas beat their hosts by 22 runs at Hambantota on Sunday in the second of three T20 Internationals to win South Africa’s first ever bilateral limited overs series trophy on Sri Lankan soil.
The Proteas now hold a winning 2-0 series lead and will be aiming for a rare clean sweep against the No. 1 team on the ICC T20 International rankings at Hambantota on Tuesday.
This was a far more convincing victory than that achieved in the first match on Friday when the bowlers had to defend a modest total.
Faf du Plessis again won the toss with an unchanged side and JP Duminy (30 off 23 balls, 3 fours) and Man-of-the-Match David Miller (36 off 21 balls, 1 four and 2 sixes) led the way as the Proteas posted a competitive total of 145/6 in 20 overs. This was the second highest total ever at this particular venue.
The bowlers then played their part in equal measure. Lonwabo Tsotsobe took two important wickets up front while Wayne Parnell and Morne Morkel excelled at the death, conceding only 22 runs in the final 3 overs.
Once again Kumar Sangakkara (39 off 35 balls, 4 fours) carried the Sri Lankan batting line-up almost man alone until Thisara Perrera (22 not out off 20 balls, 2 fours) provided a late spurt. But Morkel dismissed Sangakkara two runs after Perrera had come to the crease and that proved to be the death blow for the home side.
The two new Proteas caps in this series, David Wiese and Imran Tahir, took a wicket apiece and, with the five frontline bowlers all doing a good job, Du Plessis did not even need to call on Duminy as a sixth bowler.
The Proteas are currently ranked No. 5 on the ICC T20 rankings and they should climb to at least No. 3 as they are level on points with fourth-placed West Indies and one point behind third-placed India. Sri Lanka and Pakistan occupy the top two spots.