20 January 2017
By Erika Southey
THE PROTEAS T20 squad beat Sri Lanka by 19 runs at SuperSport Park in the first of three KFC T20 matches between these two cricket giants.
Reminiscent of the last two T20 matches at SuperSport Park; rain threatened to douse Farhaan Behardien and his team’s Protea Fire.
In his first cap as skipper for the Proteas; Behardien only had praise for the team citing their strengths and what the new players bring to the team.
The weather swung in favour of a match after a 2 hour and 30 minute delay. The match got reduced to 10 overs a side.
Sri Lankan Captain Angelo Matthews won the toss and elected to field.
Jon-Jon Smuts and Heino Kuhn opened batting for the Proteas with Smuts facing the first ball off skipper Matthews.
Kuhn was run out by bowler Nuwan Kulasekara in the second over on 10 runs. Smuts (13) went after Suranga Lakmal and got caught out by Asela Gunaratne in the third over.
A six by David Miller put the Proteas’s 50 on the scoreboard in the fifth over. Miller and Theunis de Bruyn seemed to settle into a partnership, when Seekkuge Prasanna dismissed de Bruyn on 19 runs.
Skipper Behardien joined Miller at the crease. From there they let loose to put runs on the scoreboard. Miller (40) went for a shot off Kulasekara. The ball didn’t carry and found its way into the hands of Lakmal.
Mangaliso Mosehle in his debut match for the Proteas hit a six and got run out on the second last ball of the Proteas’s innings.
The Proteas set Sri Lanka a target of 127 runs.
Just before they went on the field I asked Lungi Ngidi and Imran Tahir for two wickets each. Both were keen to grant my request.
Wayne Parnell and Ngidi opened bowling for the Proteas. Initially bowling got off to a slow start including dropping a catch off a good ball bowled by Parnell to opener Niroshan Dickwella. Dickwella capitalised on this mistake and made 43 off 19 balls. Tahir built on his first over and struck twice in his second over, dismissing Dickwella (43) and Dhananjaya de Silva on 27 runs.
After the match when I thanked Tahir for keeping his word; he laughed and said: ” you should have asked for four.”
Thiksila de Silva was barely at the crease when he tried to hit a slightly slower ball from Aaron Phangiso to the boundary, but tenacious Kuhn waited patiently for it dismissing him.
Lungi Ngidi took up where Tahir left off. Like an express cargo train Ngidi delivered aggressive balls dismissing Prasanna (12) and Nuwan Pradeep (1) respectively.
Insufficient wickets in hand, and tight bowling by the Proteas; made the task of chasing the target score impossible for Dinesh Chandimal and Gunaratne. Sri Lanka finished on 107/6.
On his debut match for the Proteas Mosehle said: “It was a good one.”
Returning to International format after a very busy domestic CSA T20 competition and playing in the 4-day Momentum Cup a few days earlier, Kuhn said: “you just find energy to play for your country. It’s a great privilege.”
Kuhn gave his debut cap to Mosehle to welcome him.