Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Spinners, de Kock lead South Africa to series win

Aiden Markram celebrates with his team-mates AFP/Getty Images

South Africa 105 for 1 (de Kock 58*, Hasaranga 1-22) beat Sri Lanka 103 (Perera 30, Shamsi 3 for 20) by nine wickets

South Africa won their final outing before the T20 World Cup emphatically. They did so by first bowling Sri Lanka out for their lowest first innings total at home and then polished off the total inside 15 overs. The victory gave South Africa a 2-0 lead in the three-match series, with the last fixture on Tuesday, and leaves Sri Lanka with several questions in the format they are struggling the most.

Worryingly for Sri Lanka, they were undone in their own conditions by a quartet of South African spinners and Anrich Nortje. Bjorn Fortuin, Aiden Markram, Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi took nine wickets and conceded 63 runs in the 16.1 overs they bowled. Markram, who has emerged as a genuine bowling option on this tour, finished with a career-best 3 for 21, which included two caught and bowled dismissals and the big wicket of Kusal Perera, Sri Lanka's top-scorer.

Perera, who made his comeback after recovering from Covid-19, was responsible for almost a third of their total runs with only one other batter, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, making 20 or more. Sri Lanka's highest partnership was the second-wicket stand of 28, and losing 7 for 32 between the 10th and 19th over did them no favours.

South Africa's top three encountered few problems on their way to the target, leaving their middle order and lower order untested, but their backroom staff satisfied after what has been an inconsistent time for the national side. This is their third successive T20I series win under Mark Boucher. They had earlier beaten West Indies and Ireland.

Runs, at last

Rajapaksa scored his first runs against South Africa after bagging three ducks in his previous three innings. He met his second delivery with a powerful pull that nearly carried to the square leg boundary, where Aiden Markram tried to keep in the playing area but couldn't. Rajapaksa stepped out to hit the next ball over the covers for six and took back-to-back boundaries off Markram before playing a full toss back into Markram's hands to depart for an entertaining 20.

Shamsi v Shanaka

Sri Lanka's captain hit the biggest six of their innings when he danced down the track to meet a TShamsi delivery on the full. He sent it back over the bowler's head and onto the top-tier of the stands from where it ricocheted back to the field. His strike came as Sri Lanka were approaching the halfway stage of their innings, at a time when they appeared to be bogged down by spin. Unfortunately for the hosts, Shanaka could not do too much to change that.

Immediately after his magnificent six, Shanaka stepped out and attempted to flick Shamsi, but missed the line only to see the ball spin back in to knock back his stumps. While that settled the Shamsi v Shanaka battle, it wasn't the No.1. bowler's moment of the match. That came in his final over, when Shamsi delivered a ball that turned past Chamika Karunaratne's inside-edge from outside off to beat his drive and bowl him. Shamsi finished with 3 for 20.

Sri Lanka's poor reviewing continues

As was the case in the first match, Sri Lanka were willing to pounce on any opportunity to get rid of Quinton de Kock early. Dushmantha Chameera and Dinesh Chandimal convinced Shanaka to review when de Kock missed a pull off the fourth delivery of the innings. The pair thought the ball may have kissed the bottom edge. UltraEdge showed only a flat line as ball past bat and Sri Lanka were in the same position they were the last time - with a review lost and de Kock still at the crease. They were unable to get rid of him and only broke the opening stand in the ninth over, when Reeza Hendricks top-edged Wanindu Hasaranga and was caught by Chandimal towards square leg.

Quinny's perfect 10

De Kock brought up his 10th T20I fifty, and fourth this year, with a gorgeous cover drive off Hasaranga to cap off an innings laced with well-timed and eye-catching shots. His innings featured three cover drives, a cut, a slice to third man and two sweeps and he was in almost complete control from the first ball to the last. South Africa rested de Kock for the ODI series, which they lost, and while it's unlikely that they need any confirmation of his value to the side, if they needed any, it came in this innings.