Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara held their nerve in the death overs with miserly fast bowling as Sri Lanka beat South Africa by five runs in their World Twenty20 opener at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Saturday. South Africa had the upper hand chasing 166 for victory in their Group One super 10 match and needed 19 runs off the last two overs with five wickets in hand.
But Kulasekara gave away just four runs and picked up the wicket of Farhaan Behardien (five) to leave South Africa needing 15 runs off limited-overs specialist Malinga’s final over. Dale Steyn (zero) and the dangerous David Miller (19) were run out off the first two deliveries and although Imran Tahir (eight not out) managed a last-ball six, the chase had already gone out of South Africa’s reach. SA were without their captain Faf du Plessis, who has aggravated a hamstring strain.
JP Duminy (39) top-scored for the Proteas, who ended on 160 for eight, and off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake was the most successful Sri Lankan bowler with figures of two for 22.
Opener Kusal Perera’s assault gave Sri Lanka the tempo at the start of their innings and Angelo Mathews provided the late fireworks to lift them to 165 for seven after their captain Dinesh Chandimal had won the toss. The diminutive Perera made clear his intentions with two fours and a six in three deliveries off Steyn’s opening over and brought up his fifty off just 29 balls.
He struck 61 off 40 balls, including six fours and three sixes, before falling to leg-spinner Tahir, who stemmed the run flow and picked up three wickets for 26 runs.
Brief scores: SL 165/7( K Perera 61 off 40 balls, A Mathews 43 off 32 balls,K Sangakkara 14 off 18 balls; I Tahir 3/26, D Steyn 2/37) beat SA 160/8 ( J Duminy 39 off 30 balls, Q Kock 25 off 18 balls, H Amla 23 off 26 balls; Senanayake 2/22, A Mathews 1/21) by 5 runs.
NZ win on D-L method
Late Saturday evening, captain Brendon McCullum played one of the most important six-ball knocks of his career to lead New Zealand to a nine-run win over England via the Duckworth-Lewis method in a rain-marred match. Chasing 173 for victory, McCullum hit two sixes off rival skipper Stuart Broad in the fifth over before the heavens opened and his team were left on 52 for one after 5.2 overs.
No further cricket was possible and because Duckworth-Lewis only comes into play in Twenty20 when five overs are bowled by each team, the Kiwi’s innings proved vital. England had good reason to feel unlucky after Moeen Ali and Michael Lumb featured in a 72-run stand for the second wicket and, down continued…