KAGISO RABADA and Thabraiz Shamsi took four wickets apiece to set up the Standard Bank Proteas for an easy 5-wicket win with 19 overs to spare in the first of five One-Day Internationals against Sri Lanka at Dambulla on Sunday.
The entire match lasted less than 66 overs as Sri Lanka were dismissed for 193 in 34.3 overs and the Proteas achieved their target in only 31.
It was the sixth time that Rabada (4/41 in 8 overs) had taken four or more wickets in a match and the first time against Sri Lanka while Shamsi’s return of 4/33 in 8.3 overs represented a career best against all opponents.
Quinton de Kock also entered the record books with his 5 dismissals which were the most for the Proteas against Sri Lanka, improving on the 4 of both Dave Richardson and Mark Boucher.
Rabada, who took 3 wickets in his opening spell, and Lungi Ngidi reduced the Sri Lanka innings to tatters at 36/5 (there was also a smart, direct hit run out by JP Duminy) before the home side had their only good period when Kusal Perera (81 off 72 balls, 11 fours and a six) and Thisara Perera (49 off 30 balls, 8 fours) counter-attacked with a sixth wicket stand of 92 in 9 overs but then Shamsi earned his Man of the Match award when he dismissed both of them and brought Sri Lankan resistance to a close.
The Proteas response was set up by the third wicket partnership of 86 between De Kock and Faf du Plessis who both made 47 runs.
Duminy, showing his best ODI form for some time, then closed the match out with an unbeaten 53 off 32 balls (6 fours and 2 sixes). The left-hander made effective use of the sweep against the Sri Lankan spinners before finishing the match with a delightful punch through the covers off the back foot.
What will have pleased the South African coaching staff the most about this performance was the manner in which the batsmen took the attack to the Sri Lankan spinners with the two front liners, Akila Dananjaya and Lakshan Sandakan, paying a price for the four wickets they captured, conceding 124 runs between them in 18 overs.
It was the Proteas first win at Dambulla in three attempts. The second ODI will be a D/N fixture at the same venue on Wednesday.