Tahir holds nerve in Super Over to lead Proteas to victory

A spirited fightback from Sri Lanka at the death saw the Proteas lose five wickets for just 17 runs which meant the match was tied.

Imran Tahir celebrates the Proteas' victory over Sri Lanka in their Twenty20 International match at Newlands on 19 March 2019. Picture: @OfficialCSA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - The Proteas beat Sri Lanka after their Twenty20 International match had to be decided by a Super Over at Newlands on Tuesday night.

South Africa tried their best to keep Sri Lanka in the match and ended up gifting their opponents a possible win but wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella failed to hit the stumps which would have meant a Sri Lankan victory.

The fact that the Proteas suffered three run-outs did not help their chase and instead the teams were tied on 135 and the match went into a Super Over which Imran Tahir managed with aplomb to lead his side to a victory.

The home team won the toss and sent Sri Lanka in to bat. The visitors ended their 20 overs on 134/7, with Andile Phehlukwayo the best bowler with figures of 3/25 (4 overs).

Stand-in wicketkeeper David Miller got two dismissals, a routine catch and a lovely stumping off a Tahir googly.

South Africa's chase began in subdued fashion and only a dynamic 66-run partnership between David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen injected some impetus into the chase.

The stand included Miller’s career-best 41 (23 balls) while Van der Dussen ended with 34 (30 balls).

The Proteas had looked to be cruising to victory - at one stage they required 18 runs for victory with four overs (24 balls) remaining and with seven wickets in hand.

A spirited fightback from Sri Lanka at the death saw the Proteas lose five wickets for just 17 runs which meant the match was tied.

The visiting skipper Lasith Malinga took a superb 2/11 (4 overs) and he was ably assisted by Isuru Udana's crafty left arm changeups.

Enter the Super Over and Malinga could not reproduce his earlier magic as Miller hit a six and four to score 14 in the allotted six balls alongside Van der Dussen again.

It left Sri Lanka needing 15 to win but South Africa's ace up their sleeve, Tahir, proved once again what a genuine match-winner he is, conceding only five runs from his over, which included two wides.

South Africa take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series with the next match at Centurion on Friday and the final T20i at the Wanderers on Sunday.

After the match, Miller admitted that the Proteas were lucky.

"It was a serious collpase that we had but saying that, the Sri Lankans did bowl well with those slower balls and I don't think that we adapted well enough but at the end of it we wee very luck to get to the Super Over but the last two or three overs were just ebb and flow - ridiculously so. I'm happy with the result and I think they bowled really well and it was really slow and we defiintely can learnf orm it."

He added that they'll take something from the pressure situation.

"You don't want the team to be in those positions, you always to want to beat a team by 10 wickets or whatever but being in that position, I think, was very good. We learned a lot, myself, being in that position and getting a run out was a litle bit unnecessary, little things along the way we can learn from. I suppose that it was a very high-pressure game and it was nice to get the win."

Miller explained how they chose the pair for the Super Over.

"We did have a five minute discussion with the leadership group and they came up with the three batters. We worked with one or two seniors guys what we were going to go with and we committed with that."

The power hitter says that skipper Faf du Plessis was adamant that Tahir would bowl the final over.

"Du Plessis wanted Imran to bowl all the way. You saw it was pretty slow at the end and it was turning quite a bit, so he wanted him to bowl and he did it."