Dasun Shanaka a redeeming 68, Charith Asalanka 79, Kusal Mendis 76
By Srian Obeyesekere
South Africa broke the records by the highest ever ODI total 428, against a hapless Lankan attack in a 102-run victory, but credit to Sri Lanka for making a valiant effort to making a match of it in totaling 326 despite losing both openers cheaply, given the enormity of the target a hammer and tong in a Protea superseding ridden on a trio of centuries, including the fastest ever in a World Cup by Aiden Markram off 49 balls that has thrown down the gauntlet to the rest of the super teams of by the calm and reassured fashioning in their opening game untroubled on a re-laid Delhi Arun Jaitley Stadium surface that didn’t quite help the Lankan slow bowlers yesterday. Rassie van der Dussen 108 off 110 (13×4, 2×6), Quinton de Kock 100 off 84 (12×4, 3×6), and Markram 106 off 54 (14×4, 3×6) made the ultimate difference to a valiant comeback Lankan effort waning out. However, the game Lankan quest was best illustrated in matching South Africa to reaching 240 in 40 overs, but the loss of more wickets. The Protea records also fourth time three centurions from same side while Sri Lanka also took the credit – 107 boundaries from both sides the highest ever in a world cup match as well as the highest ODI W/C match aggregate surpassing 714 runs between Australia and Bangladesh in 2019.
Sri Lanka’s effort in that lost cause was praiseworthy fronted by one drop Kusal Mendis by a cameo 78 off 42 balls laced with 8 over the top and 4 across the ropes to mount the 100-mark by the twelfth over despite losing opener Pathum Nissanka bowled by Marco Jansen for a third ball duck. But their hopes dimmed when Mendis exited in the same over miscuing cutting a 140kph Kagiso Rabada delivery rearing up and taking the shoulder of the bat to Klaasen – Sri Lanka 109 for 3 after 12.5 overs. The South Africans had extinguished the Lankan early threat where Mendis had put his side in the reckoning in adding 66 for the second wicket off 47 with Kusal Janith Perera whose contribution was just 7 before the left-hander was bowled by Jansen for 7 having faced 15 deliveries with the score on 67 after 7.5 overs. Mendis went on to add a further 33 for the next wicket off 25 with Sadeera Samarawickrama who had played a supportive role falling for 23 off 19 hitting 3 boundaries and a six to a leading edge to Jansen in mid on region to a drifting back of length seamer off Gerald Coetzee’s first over as Sri Lanka was reduced to 111 for 4 after 13.2.
ASALANKA RESOLUTE 79
Charith Asalanka continued the fight with a resolute 79 off 65 balls with 4 sixes and 8 boundaries adding 39 off 40 for the fifth wicket with Dhananjaya de Silva who made 11 off 14 sent back by Maharaj caught by substitute fielder A.L. Phehlukwayo.
Where hope in the Lankan camp seemed gone, the advent of skipper Dasun Shanaka did produce the most productive partnership of 72 for the sixth wicket as Sri Lanka reached 232 off 32 overs between Asalanka and when the most unlikely of the two Asalanka fell to a running catch by substitute R.R. Hendricks as he sliced Ngidi high over point. Sri Lanka suffered successive double blows losing Dunith Wellalage bowled first ball by Coetzee for a duck off the second delivery of his first over and the 32nd of the innings as Sri Lanka slid to 233 for 7. From that point, full marks to Shanaka, who braved out of form odds in battling his way to 68 off 62 inclusive of 3 sixes and 6 boundaries with an element of luck to chancing his arm. Having pulled Jansen for 6 to deep fine leg followed by an awesome cut of a back of length Ngidi delivery for four behind point and a single in the 30th over, he dispatched Ngidi in the 32nd over.
SHANAKA TO THE FORE
The Lankan skipper’s best moment came in the 36th over when he top edged Coetzee for six behind the wicket-keeper followed by leathering the next for four a full length outside off moving to leg timing straight to mid-on and the third ball for four and a further boundary off the fifth delivery to bring up a career defining half century followed by a six to redeeming himself from the despair of a long slumber. Into the 39th over Shanaka hammered Maharaj for four, six, 5 wides, four as both teams reached 291 after40 overs with Kasun Rajitha on 9 off 19. But the Lankan captain’s innings came to and end as he played straight to a low fastish delivery by Maharaj that took the bat and went through to his stumps as Sri Lanka reached 291 for 8 after 39.4. It did not signal a quick end for the Lankans as Kasun Rajitha continued to play a brave knock of 33 off 31 with 4 boundaries and a six in adding 31 off 24 balls with Matheesha Pathirana who made 5 taking the side past the 300-mark hitting Jansen for four in the next over. He was ninth out with the score 322 after 43.4 as the Lankan innings ended two deliveries later when Pathirana was bowled by Rabada off the fifth ball of the 45th over with Dilshan Madushanka on 4.
South Africa 428/5 (50 Overs)
Rassie van der Dussen 108, Aiden Markram 106, Quinton de Kock 100, David Miller n.o. 39, Heinrich Klaasen 32, Marco Jansen n.o. 12, Dilshan Madushanka 2/86, Dunith Wellalage 1/81, Kasun Rajitha 1/90, Matheesha Pathirana 1/95) (
Sri Lanka 326 (44.5 Overs)
(Charith Asalanka 79, Kusal Mendis 76, Dasun Shanaka 68, Kasun Rajitha 33, Sadeera Samarawickrama 23, Dhananjaya de Silva 11, Dilshan Madushanka n.o. 4, Gerald Coetzee 3/68, Kagiso Rabada 2/50, Keshav Maharaj 2/62, Marco Jansen 2/92, Lungi Ngidi 1/49)