Sri Lanka beat South Africa by 5 wickets to win T20 series

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Cape Town, South Africa (AP) — Niroshan Dickwella struck a crucial 68 as Sri Lanka beat South Africa by five wickets in Wednesday’s Twenty20 international at Newlands to secure their first trophy on South African soil.

Chasing a challenging 170 to win the decisive third match after AB de Villiers had struck 63 on his return to international cricket, Dickwella shared in a 71-run stand with Dhananjaya de Silva (19) before Seekkuge Prasanna’s destructive 37 saw Sri Lanka home with one ball to spare.

Sri Lanka’s Niroshan Dickwella plays a shot during the 3rd T20 game against South Africa in Cape Town, Wednesday Jan. 25. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)
Sri Lanka’s Niroshan Dickwella plays a shot during the 3rd T20 game against South Africa in Cape Town, Wednesday Jan. 25. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

The visitors clinched the three-match series 2-1 as a result, but were grateful to some poor fielding from the South Africans, who dropped five catches in total – including three in three balls.

De Villiers had not played an international match since June last year due to an elbow injury, but was soon part of the action after the hosts won the toss and elected to bat.

After Jon-Jon Smuts (19) and Reeza Hendricks (41) put on 36 for the first wicket, De Villiers eased back into the international game with a 35-ball fifty as he put on 71 for the second wicket with Hendricks.

Although South Africa were derailed by the loss of four wickets in four overs, Mangaliso Mosehle’s unbeaten 32 from 15 deliveries gave them a strong total of 169 for five.

Sri Lanka’s reply followed a similar pattern, with Dickwella putting on 36 for the first wicket with Upul Tharanga (20) and then the 71 for the third wicket with De Silva (19).

Imran Tahir pulled the match back in South Africa’s favor when he dismissed both Dickwella and De Silva in the same over and recorded figures of 3-18, but Sri Lanka refused to give up.

Prasanna struck three clean sixes in his 16-ball innings to leave 11 runs required from the final over, before allrounder Asela Gunaratne finished the job with two boundaries off fast bowler Dane Paterson.