The Standard Bank Proteas maintained their white-ball dominance over Sri Lanka but it took a super over to get them there in the first of three KFC T20 International matches at PPC Newlands on Tuesday evening.
The Proteas had looked to be coasting to victory in the match proper when they needed 18 runs for victory in the final four overs with seven wickets in hand, David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen having just shared a 50 partnership off 33 balls. This included Miller’s career-best 41 (23 balls, 5 fours and a six), beating his previous best of 40 against these opponents.
But they managed to lose 5 wickets for 17 runs to finish the match all square with Lasith Malinga taking a superb 2/11 in his four overs.
He did not enjoy the same success in the super over when Miller scored 13 of the 14 runs that he and Van der Dussen put together off the six balls.
It left Sri Lanka needing 15 to win – a tie would have given victory to the Proteas on the superior number of boundaries hit in the match proper – but Imran Tahir proved more than equal to the occasion, conceding only 5 runs from his 8 balls (he sent down two wides).
In the end the Proteas were left to rue their not having played very smart cricket in the closing stages of their innings in chasing down a modest target.
Sri Lanka could also reflect on the fact Niroshan Dickwella missed the easiest of run outs off the final ball of the match proper that would have given them a one-run victory.
It was also remarkable that Isuru Udana, after his effective hitting in the ODI Series, only came into bat at No. 8 and was largely responsible for the unbroken partnership of 21 he and Akila Dananjaya had off the last 10 balls of their innings.
Possibly the most significant thing about the match proper was that Miller kept wicket for the Proteas for all 20 overs and took his maiden catch in this position and made his first stumping without conceding a bye. His all-round contribution with the bat and in the field saw him named KFC Man of the Match.
Quinton de Kock took over the gloves for the Super Over.
The second match takes place at SuperSport Park on Friday evening (18h00 start) and the final one at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on Sunday (14h30) start.