Durham: South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla guided the team to their second victory in the ongoing ICC Men's Cricket World as the Proteas overpowered Sri Lanka by nine wickets at Riverside Ground here on Friday.
Chasing a low target of 204 runs, South Africa got off to a sparkling start as they kept hammering regular boundaries. But Lasith Malinga thwarted South Africa's fast-pacing inning as he got hold of Quinton de Kock (15) in the fifth over.
The opener Hashim Amla was then joined by the skipper Faf du Plessis on the field. Both did not let Sri Lankan bowler dominate as they kept on adding runs to the scoreboard comfortably. While chasing the target, both Amla and Du Plessis scored their respective half-centuries.
Both continued their form and the match was brought to a point where South Africa needed just 19 runs from 16 overs. From there on, Amla (80*) and Du Plessis (96*) easily took their side over the line in the 38th over and registered a massive nine-wicket victory.
Earlier, Sri Lanka, who were sent to bat first, had a very poor start as they lost their first wicket on the very first delivery of the match in the name of Dimuth Karunaratne, who was caught at second slip. South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada provided his side with the first breakthrough.
Kusal Perera was then accompanied by Avishka Fernando on the field. Both played steadily and added 67 runs on the board. However, in the 10th over, Dwaine Pretorius took the wicket of Fernando (30). Pretorius, in his next over, got hold of Perera, who also played an inning of 30 runs.
Angelo Mathews and Kusal Mendis then took the field but the former was sent back to the pavilion by Chris Morris in the 22nd over. Mathews dismissal brought Dhananjaya de Silva out on the field. But Pretorius struck again, this time he took the wicket of Kusal Mendis (23) to halt their 11-run partnership.
After the conclusion of 28 overs, Sri Lanka's half of the squad was sent back to the pavilion when they had just 111 runs on the board. Jeevan Mendis then came out to bat along with De Silva.
Both played cautiously and added 24 runs before De Silva (24) was bowled by JP Duminy. Thisara Perera was the next batsman. In the 40th over, Morris took the wicket of Jeevan Mendis, who scored 18 runs.
Thisara Perera was then accompanied by Isuru Udana on the field. Both formed a 21-run partnership before Thisara Perera (21) was caught deep square off Andile Phehlukwayo's delivery.
Suranga Lakmal then took the charge along with Udana. However, Rabada removed Udana (17) in the 49th over. Malinga then came out to bat and smashed a boundary, which helped his side touch the 200-run mark. But Morris made a strong comeback after being hit for a boundary and took the wicket of Malinga.
Consequently, the Sri Lanka batting line-up was all out when they had just 203 runs on the board with three balls to spare.
Sri Lanka will now face West Indies on July 1 while South Africa will compete against Australia on July 6.
Brief scores: South Africa 206/1 (Faf du Plessis 96*, Hashim Amla 80*, Lasith Malinga 1-47) defeated Sri Lanka 203/10 (Kusal Perera 30, Avishka Fernando 30, Dwaine Pretorius 3-25) by nine wickets.