BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – South Africa signalled their title challenging intent as they disposed of last tournament’s runners up Sri Lanka by five wickets in their World Twenty20 Champion-ship warm-up game at Kensington Oval yesterday.
Fielding first after losing the toss, they restricted Sri Lanka to a modest 137 for eight and then got home with three balls remaining, reaching 141 for five.
Sri Lanka’s choice to bat on winning the toss may have been ill-advised as the pitch appeared to become easier to bat on later in the day. Their innings was in tatters early in the piece but they recovered from 42 for five to 94 for six before reaching their eventual score. The revival was led by Chamara Kapugedara who top-scored with 61 not out and Sanath Jayasuriya who stroked 33 batting down the order.
Kapugedara, a 23-year-old right-hander, struck three fours and five sixes off just 33 balls while the veteran Jayasuriya counted a pair of fours and one six off 33 balls, to help provide Sri Lanka with a fighting score.
Among the clatter of early wickets was Mahela Jayawardene (9) who fell in the day’s fourth over with the score on 20 for two, brilliantly caught by Morne Morkel at third man off a miscued shot off fast bowler Charl Langerveldt.
Two balls and two runs later, Sri Lanka lost their captain Kumar Sangakkara for 11, as the left-hander played all around a well disguised slower ball from Langerveldt who finished with two for 23.
Sri Lanka were in with a sniff when they reduced South Africa to 30 for two in the sixth over but Mark Boucher (33 not out), Johan Botha (29), Herschelle Gibbs (26) and AB de Villiers (21) ensured there was no mid-innings collapse.
Gibbs and de Villiers added 39 for the third wicket and when both batsmen fell in quick succession, Boucher and Botha posted 61 from 33 balls for the fifth wicket to win South Africa the game.
Boucher faced 20 balls and struck three fours and a six while Botha also counted three fours and a six off 17 balls.