Drama at Newlands as Proteas survive Super Over to beat Sri Lanka
Proteas / 19 March 2019, 10:14pm / Zaahier Adams at Newlands
CAPE TOWN – If there is any silver lining to the chaos that unfolded at Newlands on Tuesday night, it is that South Africa have hopefully gotten their choke out of the way ahead of the World Cup.
This hari-kiri was right up there with the very best of the Proteas’ capitulations.
It was certainly wasn’t meant to be a thriller when South Africa were handily placed on 118/3, in pursuit of 134, with 21 balls remaining.
But that’s exactly what transpired when the home team’s lower-order made a sorry mess of it all, resulting in the match being tied as the tail-enders scrambled a single off the final ball of the innings to force a Super Over.
The fact that the hosts won via a Super Over is irrelevant.
David Miller may have clubbed Lasith Malinga for 14 runs, before Imran Tahir held his nerve to concede just five runs to close out the eventual victory.
But coach Ottis Gibson will certainly need to address how his team handle these pressure moments at the World Cup in a couple of months’ time.
Even during the Super Over they struggled to maintain their composure, with Dale Steyn dropping a simple catch at long-on that illustrated even the most senior players are susceptible to the pressure.
The actual match also once again highlighted how reliant South Africa’s World Cup strategy is on its strike bowlers.
They duly did their job in restricting Sri Lanka for a below-par total of 134/7 off their 20 overs, with Andile Phehlukwayo claiming 3/25.
However, there is a great element of risk attached to it, for it leaves them vulnerable due a lengthy tail.
It all seemed immaterial, though, when Miller (41 off 23 balls, 5x4, 1x6) and Rassie van der Dussen (34 off 30 balls) were at the crease.
The pair shared a 66-run partnership for the third wicket, with Miller being the chief aggressor in the partnership. The powerful left-hander utilised the sweep to good effect.