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Wednesday, 03 April 2024 22:30

Athapaththu, Samarawickrama star in Sri Lanka's historic series win over South Africa.

By:Liryn de Jager.

Sri Lanka will go into the ODI series on a high after winning the series deciding third T20I against South Africa at Buffalo Park in East London by four wickets.

This is the first time that Sri Lanka have beaten South Africa in a limited over series.

Batting first, the home team scored 155 for six before the visitors managed to achieve the highest successful run chase in a T20I at Buffalo Park, finishing on 156 for six.

Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapathtu top-scored with 73. The 97 run second wicket partnership with Harshita Samarawickrama laid the foundation for the victory.

Player of the match Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapathtu top-scored with 73. The 97 run second wicket partnership with Harshita Samarawickrama laid the foundation for the victory.

Protea captain Laura Wolfvaardt was named player of the series, scoring 158 runs in the two matches she played.

“It is disappointing to be on the losing side today, it was a tough game. I thought we had enough on the board … but we didn’t bowl in the best areas in the end.

“I felt I started well and it was good to be a bit more aggressive up front. I lost a bit of momentum at the end but felt like I was timing it well.

“There are a few areas to sharpen on before the ODIs, like hanging onto catches. We have a few days to recalibrate and come up with some plans and come back stronger.”

The Sri Lanka innings started on a wobbly note after Nonkululeko Mlaba struck in the second over with Wolvaardt taking a running catch that saw the back of Vishmi Gunaratne for one (3b).

Sri Lanka captain Chamari Athapaththu and Harshitha Samarawickrama then steadied the ship, scoring at a brisk rate in an attempt to achieve the highest successful run chase in a T20I at Buffalo Park. Their 50 run partnership (35 balls) was up in the seventh over.

A massive six gave Athapaththu her nineth T20I 50, her third against South Africa, in the tenth over.

The second wicket partnership (97 runs) was finally broken with the score on 102 when Marizanne Kapp bowled Athapathtu for 73 of just 46 balls (7x4, 5x6).

Sri Lanka lost their third wicket ten runs later with the dismissal of Kavisha Dilhari for one, caught by De Klerk from the bowling of Eliz-Mari Marx.

With five overs left, Sri Lanka were left to score 35 runs for victory.

Tumi Sekhukhune claimed the fourth Sri Lankan wicket when she bowled Hasini Perera for 10 (12b, 2x4) and with the score on 136.

In the penultimate over, De Klerk bowled Nilakshika Silva for 12 (6b, 3x4) and with the very next ball she uprooted the wickets of Anuskhka Sanjeewani.

Samarawickrama finished on 54 not out (43b, 4x4, 1x6).

Earlier Wolvaardt and Tazmin Brits scored 37 runs for the first wicket before Brits nicked a Sugandika Kumari delivery to wicketkeeper Anushka Sanjeewani. She had to walk back for seven runs (9b, 1x4).

The Proteas lost their second wicket with the score on 51 when Kapp was caught and bowled by Udeshika Prabodhani for eight (5b, 2x4).

It was another caught and bowl dismissal, this time for Dilhari, when Sune Luus had to walk back for five runs (9b) and with the score on 65.

At the halfway mark, South Africa were on 67 for three, with Wolvaardt on 43 and Anneke Bosch on two.

In an effort to push on with things in the second half of the innings, Bosch couldn’t properly get hold of a Inoshi Priyadharshani delivery and Prabodhani's safe hands did the rest. She had to walk back for 27 (21b, 3x4, 1x6) with the score on 97.

Wolvaardt’s 11th T20I 50 (53*) was up in the 17th over, coming of only 40 deliveries and including eight boundaries.

De Klerk also got in on the action scoring 27 runs, including three consecutive sixes, in the penultimate over. She finished on 44 not out of 25 balls, her highest T20I score.

In the end, Kumari bowled Wolvaardt for 56 (47b, 8x4) with four deliveries left in the innings. Kumari then picked up her third wicket when Marx was caught by Perera for four runs.

The ODI series begins on Tuesday 9 April, also at Buffalo Park.

South Africa: Laura Wolvaardt (c), Tazmin Brits, Marizanne Kapp, Sune Luus, Anneke Bosch, Nadine de Klerk, Eliz-mari Marx, Karaba Meso, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Tumi Sekhukhune, Ayabonga Khaka.

Sri Lanka Women Team: Chamari Athapaththu (c), Harshitha Samarawickrama, Vishmi Gunaratne, Hasini Perera, Nilakshika Silva, Kavisha Dilhari, Anushka Sanjeewani, Inoshi Priyadharshani, Achini Kulasuriya, Udeshika Prabodhani, Sugandika Kumari.