Tearaway pacer Anrich Nortje picked career-best figures of 4-7 to lead a dominant and disciplined bowling performance from South Africa and set up their six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their Group D match of 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium on Monday. 

The teams were greeted by a two-paced pitch having variable bounce and some swing on offer, leading to a challenge for batters in bringing out their strokeplay on a bowler-friendly surface. In such conditions, Nortje made merry with his impeccable accuracy in varying pace, line, and length to be the pick of bowlers for South Africa as they bowled out a listless Sri Lanka for just 77 in 19.1 overs.

Ottneil Baartman, Keshav Maharaj, and Kagiso Rabada were amongst the wickets through their impressive spells to bowl out Sri Lanka for their lowest-ever total in men’s T20Is. In reply, South Africa managed to complete the chase with 22 balls to spare and kick off their campaign in emphatic fashion.

Barring winning the toss, nothing went right for Sri Lanka as they were pushed on the backfoot from the get-go. The 2014 champions were never allowed to get going from the start, being caught in two minds when faced with probing questions posed by South Africa’s bowlers and suffered from poor shot selection as none of the batters touched even 20, with just three players getting into double figures.

Electing to bowl first, South Africa’s bowlers found swing both ways and extra bounce to keep Sri Lanka quiet from the word go. Baartman struck with his first ball in a T20 World Cup when Pathum Nissanka threw his bat at a fuller ball outside off-stumps, but he could only give a thick edge to deep third man.

Nortje came in as the fifth bowler and struck in his first over as Kamindu Mendis whipped straight to square leg. In the next over, Maharaj stepped in to derail Sri Lanka’s innings on consecutive balls - Wanindu Hasaranga danced down the pitch for a big hit, but was stumped, followed by Sadeera Samawickrama castled by a quicker delivery.

Nortje came back to have Kusal Mendis miscue a pull to deep square leg and followed it up by enticing Charith Asalanka to flick towards the fielder in the same region to reduce Sri Lanka to 45/6. Angelo Mathews and Dasun Shanaka collectively hit three sixes in nine balls, before the latter’s top of middle stump was rattled by Rabada.

Nortje completed his four-fer when his short ball rushed Angelo Mathews on the hook and top-edge flew to fine leg. Rabada took one before a run-out ended Sri Lanka’s misery in what was a totally dominating bowling performance from South Africa.

In the chase of 78, South Africa lost Reeza Hendricks and captain Aiden Markram in quick succession. While Hendricks edged to the first slip off Nuwan Thushara, Markram gave a leading edge on the on-drive to slip for a low catch off Dasun Shanaka.

Quinton de Kock hung around to make a 27-ball 20 before giving a return catch to Wanindu Hasaranga off his own bowling. Charith Asalanka pulled off a stunning catch with both hands at short cover to have Tristan Stubbs dismissed for 13 off 28 balls on Hasaranga’s bowling.

Heinrich Klaasen lofted Hasaranga for a six and four respectively, before David Miller finished off the lowly chase by driving the Sri Lanka skipper wide of long-on for four more to ensure South Africa began their campaign on a high note.

Brief scores:

Sri Lanka 77 all out in 19.1 overs (Kusal Mendis 19; Anrich Nortje 4-7, Kagiso Rabada 2-21) lost to South Africa 80/4 in 16.2 overs (Quinton de Kock 20; Wanindu Hasaranga 2-22, Dasun Shanaka 1-6) by six wickets


(Except for the headline, this story, from a syndicated feed, has not been edited by Odishatv.in staff)

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