South Africa : 94/3 (14.2 overs)
Dane van Niekerk 71* (51) Achini Kulasuriya 14-1 (3)
Sri Lanka 90/8 (20 overs)
Hasini Perera 27 (41), Imalka Mendis 25* (24) Dane van Niekerk 12-3 (4), Masabata Klaas 22-2 (4)
By 7 wickets
A sparkling all-round performance by skipper Dane van Niekerk helped South Africa register a victory in the first T20I against Sri Lanka at Newlands, Cape Town.
Opting to bat first after winning the toss, Sri Lanka could muster only 90 runs in their allocated overs. Only opener Hasini Perera (27 runs from 41 balls) and lower-order batter Imalka Mendis (25* runs from 24 deliveries) put up any sort of resistance.
Anushka Sanjeewani (9 from 9) was the first to depart. She was caught by Tumi Sekhukhune off the bowling of Masabata Klaas. A cautious start meant Sri Lanka could score only 26 runs in the Powerplay. South Africa kept the pressure on to restrict Sri Lanka to 44 by the end of the 10th over.
Then the collapse began. Perera was caught by Lara Goodall to hand van Niekerk her first of three wickets. She struck again twice in her next over to send Shashikala Siriwardene (6 runs from 9 balls) and captain Chamari Athapaththu (7 runs from 16 balls) back to the hutch. Nilakshi de Silva (2 runs from 5 balls) followed soon, after being bowled by Sekhukhune. Sri Lanka were now 55-5 and in some disarray.
Oshadi Ranasinghe (5 runs from 7 balls) was run out by the duo of Tazmin Brits and Faye Tunnicliffe. That the delivery in question was a no-ball must have twisted the knife in Sri Lanka’s wound further. Klaas bagged her second wicket when she had Umesha Thimashini bowled for 3 runs from 6 balls.
Tunnicliffe was in the fray again running out Udeshika Prabodhani for a 3-ball duck. The South African captain finished with figures of 12-3 in her 4 overs.
South Africa were off to a good start in their chase compiling 20 runs in 3 overs. Then opener Brits (10 runs from 11 deliveries) was caught by Mendis from a delivery by Achini Kulasuriya in the 4th over. By the end of the Powerplay South Africa had scored 34 runs, well ahead of the required run-rate.
Marizanne Kapp could only score 5 runs from 8 balls before she was caught by Prabodhani off the bowling of de Silva. Meanwhile, van Niekerk was going strong at the other end. She found the boundary rope thrice in Inoka Ranaweera’s second over, racking up a fifty off just 40 balls along the way. However, Ranaweera found some respite when Mignon du Preez (4 runs from 4 balls) was bowled off the last delivery of the over.
By then, South Africa were 75-3 in 11 overs, well on their way to victory. Goodall (3 runs from 8 balls) joined her captain at the crease. She watched as van Niekerk, fittingly, brought up the winning runs with a boundary in the 15th over to wrap up a comfortable 7-wicket victory for the hosts. Dane van Niekerk finished not out with 71 runs from 55 balls to add to her fine bowling performance. The all-round display also earned van Niekerk the Player of the Match award.