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South Africa eye clean sweep against Sri Lanka in final T20I

IANS | September 14, 2021 10:31 AM

COLOMBO:  Having taken an unassailable 2-0 lead against Sri Lanka, South Africa will be looking to sweep the three-match T20I series and assert their dominance in the final match when the teams clash at the R. Premadasa Stadium here later on Tuesday.

With the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 just over a month away, this is the final international assignment for both teams to fine-tune their preparations for the mega event to be played in the UAE and Oman. Both teams have already announced their squads for the tournament and will be looking to give their players the much-needed match practice.

Sri Lanka have plenty to ponder about. They have issues with their batting, struggling in this series -- falling short by 28 runs on a good batting track and being skittled out for 103 in the second match. Even during their 2-1 win against India, their batting struggles had resurfaced. They will have one more chance to regroup and put serious thought into solving this problem if they have to make it to the Super 12s.

On the other hand, South Africa have done well on the turning tracks. This is their third T20I series win on the trot. Their batsmen have been amongst runs and their spinners have made the most out of the pitches on offer. The players on their bench will be looking to get some game time before they depart for the UAE.

In the previous match at the same venue a couple of days back, South Africa's spinners had put on a stunning show, accounting for nine of the 10 wickets as Sri Lanka were bowled out for a meagre 103. Apart from Kusal Perera (30), all the other batsmen couldn't go past 20 runs, with seven of them registering single-digit figures.

In reply, South Africa were clinical in their chase, losing just the wicket of Reeza Hendricks (18) but not before he put up a 62-run opening stand with Quinton de Kock. For his part, de Kock was exceptional, taking on the Sri Lanka bowlers with ease and hitting seven fours in his unbeaten 58, taking the Proteas to a big nine-wicket victory and helping them clinch the series.

South Africa captain Keshav Maharaj said, "All credit to my team. They made my life easier. We had simple plans and it all paid off. It is important that we keep building on the positives. We could bowl better in the powerplay and with our batting. There has been a vast improvement in the last two years for us."

Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka said, "We need to change our approach in the middle overs. It is a major concern and we need to come up with better plans in the future for the World Cup. The mindset and the approach need to change in the boys."

 
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