Isuru Udana 84 from 48 balls


The 2nd T20I between South Africa and Sri Lanka ended in favour of the hosts today at the SuperSport Park in Centurion. The Proteas, led by JP Duminy, beat the unchanged Sri Lanka by 16 runs despite Isuru Udana’s late blitz.Chasing a target of 181 on a good batting wicket, Sri Lanka were in a hopeless situation when Isuru Udana walked in at number 8. From a position of 62/6 in the 10th over, Udana made sure Sri Lanka inched closer towards the required target with his powerful range hitting. His efforts couldn’t win the match for Sri Lanka, but saved them from another heavy loss.Sri Lanka’s run-chase had a stop-start beginning as the batsmen took Dale Steyn for 17 runs just after he dismissed both Avishka Fernando and Kusal Mendis in his previous over, the very first over of the innings. Just when things started to happen for Sri Lanka with a 17-run Steyn over, Chris Morris destroyed the top order with a couple of wickets in one over, the 4th of the innings. By the end of the 4th over Sri Lanka were reeling at 31/4.

Niroshan Dickwella, following a lean patch throughout the tour, got going with 2 boundaries and a six, but it was all only until Morris had the final say. Kamindu Mendis batting at number 5, as Thisara Perera was sent ahead of him, was out in the first ball he faced.

The Pereras, Angelo and Thisara together could only add 25 runs in the 4.1 overs they faced, not very fluently. Thisara’s poor tour continued as he skied one very high to the night sky off Dwayne Pretorius to give debutant wicket keeper Sinethemba Qeshile his 2nd catch of the match. Kamindu was his first victim.

Trying to get Sri Lanka closer towards the target Dhananjaya de Silva played second fiddle to the hard hitting Udana. The 21-run partnership came to an unfortunate end when JP Duminy ran out De Silva after dropping Udana on 13. What followed was the best partnership of the Lankan innings. Udana along with Akila Dananjaya added 46 in just 4.1 overs.

Akila contributed only 1 run in the whole partnership and was eventually bowled by Tabraiz Shamsi. Udana on the other end, despite running out of partners kept Sri Lanka in contention with an outside chance as he kept clearing the ropes regularly.

His unbeaten knock of 84 is the highest T20I score by any player batting at 8 or below.

Earlier in the day Sri Lanka’s decision to bowl first after winning the toss paid off straight away as Isuru Udana dismissed T20I debutant Aiden Markram in just the 2nd over when South Africa were on 9. South Africa’s revival from the early loss began with the very next delivery.Rassie van der Dussen drove the full-ish delivery from Udana to get off the mark on the very first ball he faced with a boundary. Starting off from that, Van der Dussen and Reeza Hendricks went on to add 116 runs for the 2nd wicket in just 12.4 overs.Thisara Perera in particular was given a heavy beating by the two right handers. The 10th over bowled by Perera went for 19 while his previous over went for 11. Apart from Perera, Kamindu Mendis was allowed to bowl just 1 over as he was hit for 12.Akila Dananjaya was hit for 23 runs in his 2nd and 3rd overs after a brilliant first over in which only 4 runs were scored. Jeffrey Vandersay was economical comparing with the others as he ended his 4-over spell during the destructive partnership giving away just 25 runs.

Duminy ended the South African innings on 180/3 as he walked away unbeaten on 33 from just 17 deliveries. The 4th wicket stand between him and David Miller remained unbroken on 42.In bowling for Sri Lanka Perera’s economy after 3 overs was 15 while Udana’s was just under 10. Akila Dananjaya ended up with figures of 1/31. Malinga once again was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 1/26.

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