24 March 2013
South Africa face New Zealand in a World T20 clash in Chittagong on Monday needing a victory, after going down to Sri Lanka by five runs in their opening match on Saturday.
After posting 165 for 7 in their 20 overs, Sri Lanka restricted South Africa to 160 for 8 in reply.
Kusal Perera top-scored for the Sri Lankans with 63 off only 40 deliveries, while Angelo Mathews provided good support with 43 off 32 balls. Imran Tahir, meanwhile, shone with the ball, knocking over 3 for 26 in his four overs.
In South Africa’s reply, the first six batsmen got into doubles figures, but failed to really drive their starts home, with JP Duminy’s 39 the highest score of the Proteas’ innings.
AB de Villiers, who stood in for the injured Faf du Plessis as captain, admitted to being disappointed by the Proteas’ performance against the number one ranked Sri Lankans.
“There are two areas where I feel we lost the game,” De Villiers said after the match. “In the field they ran two to us too often and we gave away too many extras. We have been guilty of that in the past and we have to get that right if we are going to do well in this tournament.
“We also lost wickets at bad times,” he added. “I got out at a bad time and once it gets close like that, losing wickets regularly will lose you the game.
“We lost the momentum towards the end there. We always knew that we had to get it down to no more than eight runs with Malinga’s last over to come.”
All-rounder JP Duminy said there were some positives for the Proteas to take out of their showing against Sri Lanka.
“Five runs was the difference. We could have made it up in the middle overs,” he said at the South Africa’s training session on Sunday.
“We take a lot of confidence, especially from the bowlers after the way they (Sri Lanka) started. We did well to bring it back.”
Taking in the overall performance, Duminy continued: “In the first game you are trying to feel your way in the tournament, trying to figure out what the conditions are going to be like. The conditions here are totally different to what we experienced in the warm-up matches, so it’s important that we adapt and adjust quickly.”
New Zealand are ranked below South Africa in the T20 world rankings, but the conditions are likely to suit their game. They opened with a win over England on the Duckworth/Lewis Method.
“If you look at the way they have been playing over the last few months they come into the tournament with a lot of confidence,” Duminy said.
“It’s going to be an uphill battle for us, but I’m confident that we have the armoury to make sure we give ourselves the best chance.”