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This was a 120 wicket: Wanindu Hasaranga on Sri Lanka's defeat

Last updated on 03 Jun 2024 | 07:56 PM
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This was a 120 wicket: Wanindu Hasaranga on Sri Lanka's defeat

South Africa defeated Sri Lanka comfortably in New York's debut as a World Cup venue

South Africa registered a convincing win in their T20 World Cup 2024 opener, beating Sri Lanka convincingly by six and 22 balls to spare. Hosting its first World Cup game ever, New York presented an underpar pitch where batting proved to be a strenuous task. The ball bounced extraordinarily off a good length, swung and seamed throughout and gripped for spinners. 

Consequently, opting to bat first, Sri Lanka bundled out for a paltry score of 77 in 19.1 overs. Kusal Mendis was the top-scorer for the Lankans, with a forgettable knock of 19 from 30 balls. Anrich Nortje, meanwhile, snaffled four wickets for only seven runs in his four overs, bowling the most economical spell in the history of T20 World Cups. 

The Sri Lankan skipper, Wanindu Hasaranga assessed his team should have aimed at scoring 120 instead of looking for those 40-50 runs extra. “Our batters tried for 160-170. To be honest this was a 120 wicket, especially with our bowlers,” Hasaranga said. 

“We went with our strength - our bowling, that's why we batted first. We wanted to put a score and then defend,” he added. 

The scoring rate didn’t improve much in the second innings as well. It took the Proteas 16.2 overs to complete the chase. None of the four South African batters who scored in the double digits had a strike rate even remotely close to 100. 

“It was a tough one from a batting point of view,” said the South Africa skipper Aiden Markram. “We try as much as we can to take the pitch out of it, we can take some learnings from it and we are experienced,” he said. 

“Lots of different conditions as we move around, fortunately we have our next two here so we know what's coming but it's important to adapt as we go ahead,” Markram added further. 

Nortje was adjudged the Player of the Match for his back-breaking spell. “We needed to assess the conditions as quickly as possible. It was up and down at times on the wicket. I needed to hit my straps, hit the wicket hard, it was important that we got some early wickets,” Nortje spoke on the conditions and South Africa’s game plan. 

“It was a tough one, practicing on these drop-in wickets is hard, we weren't able to bowl on the pitch on the pre-match day, the plans were simple, that helped me, I just need to get my rhythm better in the next few games,” he added.

Markram also came forward to applaud Nortje for his four-wicket haul. The right-armer came off a tough IPL where he was dropped midway in the season owing to his poor form. However, the South Africa management had mentioned that they are not concerned about the speedster’s form. 

“Was not worried about him (Nortje) but a fantastic day for him, from a mental confidence point of view. He is massively loved in the changeroom, boys are incredibly happy and proud of him, hopefully, this kicks off a great World Cup for him,” Markram stated in the post-match interview. 

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