Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla blasted fifties and Andile Phehlukwayo put up a good all-round performance as South Africa got their build-up to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 off to a great start as they defeated Sri Lanka by 87 runs in the World Cup warm-up game in Cardiff on Friday. South Africa will be bidding to break their World Cup jinx and put in a strong show by winning the ICC Cricket World Cup for the first time. Sri Lanka chose to bowl and immediately they were put under immense pressure thanks to some attacking cricket from Hashim Amla, who opened with Aiden Markram after Quinton de Kock was rested for the game.
Amla opened up with two boundaries off Suranga Lakmal but the bowler had his revenge when he got rid of Aiden Markram for 21. However, Amla and skipper Faf du Plessis continued to attack the Sri Lankan bowling and the run-rate was close to six runs an over. Du Plessis raised the tempo by hammering a six and a four off Thisara Perera followed by two boundaries off Isuru Udana.
Amla notched up his fifty in style with two boundaries off Jeffrey Vandersay while du Plessis raised his fifty with a couple of boundaries off Jeevan Mendis. The South African skipper continued to bat brilliantly by hammering two sixes and a four off Vandersay. The carnage continued with du Plessis hammering a six and a four off Mendis as he neared a century but Amla fell for 65.
Du Plessis fell immediately for 88 but Rassie van der Dussen stepped up and maintained the aggressive tempo. The right-hander looked good but fell for 40 as South Africa threatened to lose steam towards the death overs. Phehlukwayo played some attacking shots and the innings ended with a flourish as Dwayne Pretorius and Chris Morris blasted 48 runs in the final three overs to help South Africa end on 338/7.
In response, Sri Lanka lost Kusal Perera and Lahiru Thirimanne to Lungi Ngidi in the first three overs. The pacer, who had missed the 2019 Indian Premier League for Chennai Super Kings due to injury, was looking in great touch and in his first spell, he had figures of 4-2-6-2. Dimuth Karunaratne, the skipper, smashed two boundaries off Chris Morris while Kusal Mendis hammered three boundaries off Kagiso Rabada as Sri Lanka looked to fight.
Kusal Mendis found the boundary regularly but his attacking innings ended when he fell for 37 to Phehlukwayo. Karunaratne reached his fifty while Angelo Mathews gave him good company but the asking rate mounted for Sri Lanka. Mathews and Karunaratne looked to break the shackles with a couple of boundaries off Imran Tahir and Dwayne Pretorius but Karunaratne fell to Rabada for 87 and Sri Lanka faced a big challenge.
Mathews kept the fight going with a fifty but Dhananjaya de Silva struggled for 17 balls for just five runs as Phehlukwayo struck. The all-rounder was in fine touch and when Mathews perished for 64 to JP Duminy, the game was up for Sri Lanka. Phehlukwayo finished with four wickets and Sri Lanka lost by a big margin of 87 runs.
Sri Lanka will now face Australia in their next warm-up game at Southampton on Monday while South Africa will take on West Indies at Bristol on Sunday.
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