Dilshan denies Proteas a whitewash

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A start-to-finish half century from Sri Lanka opener Tillakaratne Dilshan ensured the hosts avoided a whitewash in Hambantota, winning the third T20 against South Africa by six wickets on Tuesday.

A start-to-finish half century from Sri Lanka opener Tillakaratne Dilshan ensured the hosts avoided a whitewash in Hambantota, winning the third T20 against South Africa by six wickets on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka were set a hefty 164 to win, after Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis finally found his feet and recorded a much-needed half century. It was in vain though as Dilshan marshalled his top order to win with 11 balls to spare.

The Proteas won the toss and chose to bat first, having already won the series in the second match. They made no changes to that winning side, and set about posting a challenging total.

It didn't start out well for the visitors though, as Henry Davids found his poor series continuing. He was out for a duck off the first ball of the knock, trapped plumb in front by Nuwan Kulasekara.

This brought Du Plessis to the middle, needing to make a decent score after averaging around 11 in both the ODI and T20 series. He batted alongside Quinton de Kock for a few overs, even enduring a solid blow to the box from Angelo Mathews.

De Kock was out for 16 though, also trapped LBW, this time by Ajantha Mendis, and the batsman hardly waited for the finger to be lifted. JP Duminy thus came to the middle to join his skipper, and they embarked upon an epic knock.

The pair, two of the senior men in the side, went about dismantling the home bowlers, both reaching their half centuries at better than a run a ball. Du Plessis was first to do so, making his half ton off 37 deliveries.

Du Plessis hit 10 fours and three sixes in his innings as he and Duminy put on 112 runs together in little more than 12 overs. The skipper was eventually dismissed for 85 in the 20th over, bowled by Suranga Lakmal.

This left Duminy and AB de Villiers to round off the knock, and Duminy ended on 51 not out off 34 balls, bringing up his fifty off the penultimate ball with a four.

Sri Lanka were not to be intimidated though, and started their chase with purpose, reaching 20 runs in just the second over. Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Morne Morkel were flayed around by Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene.

The veteran duo reached 67 in just the six over, when Jayawardene was dismissed. He lofted a Wayne PArnell delivery to De Villiers, and was chattered off the field by a fired-up Parnell. Unfortunately for the bowler, this would be his final wicket of the game.

Dilshan continued his efforts alongside Dinesh Chandimal after Kusal Perera was dismissed for one, and they took the score to 100 before Dilshan was out. Having been dropped by Tsotsobe the over before, he was sent packing after De Kock stumped him off Imran Tahir.

Mathews was unable to add more than 14 runs before being bowled by David Wiese, who had earlier claimed Kusal's wicket, leaving Dilshan and Thisara Perera to finish up the chase. Thisara hit three fours and a six off Parnell in the 18th over, before Dilshan got the winning runs via a six off Morkel.

The win saw Sri Lanka maintain their place at the top of the T20 rankings.

Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera, Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Sachithra Senanayake, Ajantha Mendis, Suranga Lakmal

South Africa: Henry Davids, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, AB de Villiers, David Miller, David Wiese, Wayne Parnell, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, Lonwabo Tsotsobe

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