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South Africa set sights on gettable total

Dwaine Pretorius, playing in his first game at this World Cup since the opening match against England in May, starred with a miserly performance which yielded 3/25 from his ten overs.

South Africa's Dwaine Pretorius (2R) celebrates with teammates after bowling Sri Lanka's Kusal Perera for 30 during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match between Sri Lanka and South Africa at the Riverside Ground, in Chester-le-Street, northeast England, on 28 June 2019. Picture: AFP

CHESTER-LE-STREET - South Africa's bowlers stepped up and bowled Sri Lanka out for 203 to provide their batters with a golden opportunity to secure a morale boosting win at the Riverside Stadium.

Dwaine Pretorius, playing in his first game at this World Cup since the opening match against England in May, starred with a miserly performance which yielded 3/25 from his ten overs.

Chris Morris also produced and combined hostility and accuracy to end with 3/46 from 9.3 overs.

Both lanky all-rounders helped each other out by taking a catch off the other’s bowling as South Africa routinely picked up wickets, preventing Sri Lanka from building a sizeable partnership.

Faf du Plessis won the toss and elected to bowl first in this dead rubber. His decision was vindicated immediately as Kagiso Rabada (2/36 from 10 overs) hurried Dimuth Karunaratne with his first ball and had the Sri Lankan skipper caught at second slip.

Kusal Perera and Aviskha Fernando took the score to 67 and each registered 30 runs before they were both dismissed by Pretorius in the space of 10 balls. First Fernando skied one out to mid-off from a poor shot that was well held by du Plessis, then Perera chopped on from one that cut back in and cramped him for room.

Morris soon found the inside edge of Angelo Matthews for 11 before Kusal Medis cut Pretorius straight to backward point where Morris was stationed. At 111/5 Sri Lanka were in danger of a very modest total.

Jeevan Mendis, batting at 7, dug in and took 37 balls to reach 4 runs. With Dhananjaya de Silva he took the score to 135 when JP Duminy (1/15 from 2 overs) was introduced into the attack.

The last time Duminy played against Sri Lanka in a World Cup he picked up a hat-trick and his first delivery here, a flat arm ball, cleaned up de Silva. Admittedly, it was a poor stroke from the batter who opted for a premeditated reverse sweep and played all around it for 24.

Morris came back and showed intent, digging in a few short balls. Mendis, now on 18 off 46, took one on but could only offer catching practice to Pretorius down at fine leg.

Thisara Perera showed fight for his 21 off 25 but was sent packing when Rabada held on to a sharp diving catch in the deep, providing a wicket for Andile Phehlukwayo (1/38 from 8 overs).

A few overs later, Rabada took a much easier catch, this time off his own bowling, to claim his second scalp of the day and dismiss Isuru Udana for 17.

In the final over du Plessis caught his third catch of the innings and Morris had his third wicket when Lasith Malinga couldn’t clear mid-off.

South Africa should have enough to canter home but all bets are off in what has been a disappointing tournament for the Proteas. On the bright side, they couldn't have been much better with the ball today.

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