WORLD T20: Nortje’s 4 for 7 sets up dominant South Africa win

South Africa 80 for 4 (De Kock 20, Hasaranga 2-22, Shanaka 1-6) beat Sri Lanka 77 (Nortje 4-7, Rabada 2-21, Maharaj 2-22, Baartman 1-9) by six wickets

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South Africa opened their T20 World Cup campaign in authoritative fashion by bowling Sri Lanka out for their lowest total in the format and chasing 78 runs inside 17 overs to secure two points.

At the first official T20I match to be played at the newly-created stadium at Eisenhower Park, we learnt more about the conditions than either of the two sides.

The surface is tricky to bat on, there’s inconsistent bounce, not much turn and the venue has big square boundaries, which are difficult to breach.

Sri Lanka chose to bat first and were on the back foot almost immediately. Their powerplay yielded just 24 runs, and they had their lowest ten-over score: 40 for 5.

South Africa’s four-seam attack adapted to conditions quickly, went fuller upfront, varied pace well and were disciplined.

Their headliner was Anrich Nortje, who put in his best performance since returning from a stress fracture that sidelined him from the international game for almost nine months. Nortje’s 4 for 7, his career-best figures, was embroidered with high-class pace – he touched 150kph – and excellent use of the slower ball.

He was complemented by World Cup debutant Ottneil Baartman, who bowled 20 dot balls in total, the joint-most by a bowler in an innings at a T20 World Cup, equalling Ajantha Mendis against Zimbabwe in 2012.

As a result of the South Africans combined efforts, only three Sri Lankan batters got into double figures, and only one partnership – their seventh-wicket stand between Dasun Shanaka and Angelo Mathews – was worth more than 20.

They’ll rue not getting another 20 or 30 runs because that could have made things really tricky for South Africa. At 58 for 4 in the 13th over, 100 would have been a tough ask but 78 was within reach.

Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller took them home with 22 balls to spare.

In all, 127 out of the 214 balls faced by the batters in this game were dots, the most dots in a Men’s T20 World Cup game. (ESPNcricinfo)

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