Angelo Mathews, and by extension the Sri Lanka team, was down but certainly not out. Battling injury, the captain smacked two sixes in the last over to give his team a series-levelling three-wicket win in the second Twenty20 International against South Africa at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday (January 22).
Mathews made an unbeaten 54 as Sri Lanka chased down South Africa’s total of 113 with two balls left.
However, the win came at a price. Mathews may have to sit out for the rest of the tour after rolling his right ankle when he put in a dive to avoid being run out in the penultimate over.
The third and final T20I will be played in Cape Town on Wednesday, followed by five One-Day Internationals, ending on February 10.
Sri Lanka enjoyed bowling on a dry, cracked surface as South Africa was dismissed in 19.3 overs, Heino Kuhn top-scoring with 29.
Lakshan Sandakan, the left-arm wrist spinner playing in his first T20I — although he has played in three Test matches and an ODI — snapped up 4 for 23. Isara Udana and Nuwan Kulasekera, the seamers, also chipped in with 3 for 13 and 2 for 10 respectively.
Lungi Ngidi, South Africa’s newest seamer, gave Sri Lanka a scare, taking 4 for 19, but it wasn’t enough in the end.
Ngidi, who starred in the first ODI in Centurion which South Africa won, took three wickets in a dramatic three-over opening spell. He then returned to take another a fourth wicket in the 15th over, leaving Sri Lanka tottering at 89 for 4.
It all boiled down to eight needed off the last seven balls when Mathews did his ankle in after a leg-bye. He managed to limp a single off Wayne Parnell’s last ball to keep strike.
With seven needed in the last over — bowled by Jon-Jon Smuts, the left-arm spinner — Mathews was looking for a big hit off the first ball, but was dropped by a diving Heino Kuhn at deep mid-wicket.
After refusing the single, he whacked the next ball for six to level the scores and two balls later wrapped up the game with another six.
(Courtesy: International Cricket Council)