Proteas win first ODI match against Sri Lanka

Lungi Ngidi
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South Africa’s national cricket team has started their five match One Day International series against Sri Lanka with a comprehensive victory in the opening match at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. The Proteas won by eight wickets with 67 deliveries to spare.

If Proteas fans were wondering how long it would take Lungi Ngidi to get himeself back in the wickets, they didn’t have to wait long at all. The seamer, who’s been out of action since November with a knee injury, struck twice in his first two overs to remove Sri Lanka’s openers after the Proteas won the toss and opted to field, leaving the visitors in a bit of trouble on 23 for two.

Kusal Perera, the hero of the first Test match in Durban together with debutant Oshada Fernando revived their innings with a 76-run third wicket partnership. They visitors were coasting on 99 in the 17th over when spinner Imran Tahir struck for the South Africans. Tahir accounted for Perera for 33 and a few overs later the debutant was needlessly run-out agonisingly close to his maiden half-century.

At 101 for four it was Kusal Mendis and Dananjaya de Silva who had to resurrect their innings. The pair put on a 94-run 5th wicket stand, with Mendis notching up his 13th ODI half-century.

The Sri Lankans were cruising on 195 for four in the 37th, looking set to put on a total in excess of 300 runs, when Tahir came along and again turned the game on its head. The wily leg-spinner scalped De Silva for 39 and followed up with Mendis for 60 finishing with figures of three for 26. It all seemed to unravel for the visitors as they lost their last five wickets for the addition of just 36 runs.

There was a another needless run-out before quicks Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, also making his debut, took a wicket a piece.

Nigidi took the final scalp and Sri Lanka was bundled out for a paltry 231 well inside their 50 overs.

The total was about 40 runs shy of the average first innings score at the Wanderers and didn’t pose much of a challenge for the Proteas in their chase.

Captain Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock simply took the game away from the Sri Lankans, with their 136-run second wicket stand. De Kock brought up his 19th half-century with a boundary and was on 81 from just 72 deliveries when he was trapped leg before by Vishwa Fernando.

Du Plessis now partnering Rassie van der Dussen, continued to wield the willow. The Proteas skipper who was dropped on 32, went on to score his 11th ODI century. The pair eventually got their side over the line in emphatic fashion with van der Dussen unbeaten on 32, du Plessis on 112 as South Africa won by eight wickets with just over 11 overs remaining.