The dead rubber match between South Africa and Sri Lanka was perhaps made even more insignificant when the game was reduced to a 7 over contest. But South Africa adjusted far better than their opponents to record a resounding win by 32 runs. Despite taking two early wickets, Sri Lanka could not contain South Africa’s free scoring, particularly their captain A.B. De Villiers who played a thrilling cameo of 30 from just 13 balls. A total of 78 was always going to be a stiff ask for the Sri Lankans against a potent South African attack. The chase suffered a fatal blow in the first over when Tillakaratne Dilshan was run out without even facing a ball. The remaining batsman struggled to get going against some aggressive fast bowling from the South African seamers as the match fizzled out into a damp squib, with Sri Lanka finshing on 46-5.
Sri Lanka will want to move on from this performance and focus on the Super Eight stage. I feel we are in the easier of the two groups, although all the matches will be tough. The main concern for Jayawardene’s men will be the form of the seamers. Lasith Malinga is yet to hit his best, whilst Thisara Perera has been very expensive in recent matches. It will be interesting to see if rookie spinner Akila Dananjaya will be blooded, and how other teams handle Ajantha Mendis, who returned with a bang against Zimbabwe.