Andile Phehlukwayo claimed four wickets as the Proteas got their World Cup preparations off to a solid start with an 87-run victory over Sri Lanka in Cardiff on Friday.
The South Africans amassed a strong total of 338/7 off their 50 overs, and made the best possible start in defending it.
Opening bowler Lungi Ngidi (2/12), who bowled with good pace, grabbed two early wickets to leave Sri Lanka reeling on 10/2 in the third over.
He got rid of Kusal Perera (0) and Lahiru Thirimanne (10), and it looked like Faf du Plessis’ team were going to be in for an early finish.
But Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Mendis knuckled down to bring the Asian side back into the mix.
They produced a 62-run partnership for the third wicket, before Phehlukwayo made his first breakthrough when he trapped Mendis lbw right in front for 37.
The South Africans were made to toil after that, though, as Karunaratne was joined by former skipper Angelo Mathews.
They batted at virtually a run-a-ball as they compiled 98 in about 16 overs, with Chris Morris bearing the brunt of their attack as he conceded 31 runs in four overs.
But with Karunaratne looking set for a century in this unofficial ODI, he pulled Kagiso Rabada straight to Aiden Markram on the square leg boundary for a well-played 87 (off 92 balls, 12x4).
After that, Mathews lacked the necessary support to take his team to victory. Phehlukwayo (4/36) broke the back of the middle-order as he dismissed Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeevan Mendis and Milinda Siriwardena cheaply as the Sri Lankans collapsed to 220/6.
Mathews was eventually out for 64 (66 balls, 6x4, 1x6) as he attempted a big hit off JP Duminy, and was well caught by Morris.
Imran Tahir took the final wicket of Suranga Lakmal to wrap up the victory for the South Africans, who earlier posted a sizable total after Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis scored half-centuries.
Amla made a well constructed 65 off 61 balls (9x4), while captain Du Plessis fell short of a hundred in an excellent knock of 88 (69 balls, 7x4, 4x6).
They laid the platform for all-rounders Phehlukwayo (35), Morris (26 not out) and Dwaine Pretorius (25 not out) to finish the innings with a flourish.
Number four batsman Rassie van der Dussen would also have been pleased with his 40.
The Proteas play a second warm-up match against the West Indies on Sunday, before their World Cup opener against England on 30 May.@ashfakmohamed