Every batsman from 2-9 got into double figures but none got more than 30. That was the sorry tale of the Lankan batting. With no demons on the pitch, the South African batsmen especially Hashim Amla and skipper Faf du Plessis knocked the runs with ease, figuring in an unbroken 175-run partnership off 202 balls with both batsmen scoring undefeated half-centuries.
Du Plessis finished on 96 not out off 103 balls and Amla on 80 not out off 105 balls with each of them hitting five fours.
It was a clinical batting effort by South Africa who are out of the World Cup but nevertheless a win which they would be quite satisfied with. After losing Quinton de Kock for 15 – yorked by Lasith Malinga, Amla and Du Plessis simply annihilated the Lankan bowling with a batting display the Lankan bowlers had no answers to. Kagiso Rabada removed skipper Dimuth Karunaratne off the first ball of the match, but Kusal Perera and Avishka Fernando provided the best batting of the innings for Sri Lanka with 67 off 63 balls. In the first ten overs they put the South African bowlers under pressure scoring eight fours in the first power play, but after that it was a very ordinary batting display by the Lankans who allowed the opposition to bowl at them and take control of the innings with only a further eight fours being hit in the remaining 40 overs!
Sri Lanka on top at one stage handed back the initiative to South Africa by gifting their wickets. Apart from Kusal Perera who scored 30 off 34 balls and Fernando 30 off 29 balls, the rest of the batting really stuttered by not rotating the strike and their inability to get singles did not do the team any good either. The key thing is rotating the strike instead of burying the ball and keeping the ball busy which would have put the pressure right back on the bowlers. This, the Lankan batters failed to do on a nice evenly paced pitch, which was a bit on the slow side.
After losing Kusal Perera and Fernando, the rest of the batting went into a sleep mode so that at the end of their innings there were 183 dot balls which alone tells the sad story about the batting. Sri Lanka haven’t got the depth in their batting and after losing three early wickets they played a dangerous game getting into a defensive mindset from which they found it difficult to change gears once the wickets started to tumble.