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South Africa win after dismissing Sri Lanka for 77

South Africa win after dismissing Sri Lanka for 77
epa11300753 The T20 World Cup 2024 trophy on display at the Pakistan Monument during the trophy tour in Islamabad, Pakistan, 25 April 2024. The T20 World Cup 2024 tournament, running from 01 to 29 June, will be hosted by the West Indies and the USA. EPA-EFE/SOHAIL SHAHZAD 50750

EAST MEADOW, New York, June 3 (Reuters) - South Africa defeated Sri Lanka by six wickets in their opening T20 World Cup group match on Monday after dismissing their Asian opponents for their lowest ever score of 77 on a lively drop-in pitch at the temporary Nassau County stadium in Eisenhower Park.

The South Africans also struggled on a pitch cultivated in Adelaide and offering pace, bounce and spin before reaching their target with six wickets to spare and 22 balls remaining.

The pitch offered plenty to all the bowlers with South Africa fast bowler Anrich Nortje taking four wickets for just seven runs. Nortje, 30, has suffered like many pacemen with hip and back injuries but on Monday he was back to his devastating best, bowling with pace and late swing.

“It’s a great result for the team because it was a tough wicket,” said Nortje who was named Player of the Match. “We didn’t know what to expect.”

Sri Lanka, who had selected four spinners in contrast to South Africa’s four fast bowlers, opted to bat after winning the toss but were immediately floundering as Ottneil Baartman struck with his first ball at a World Cup. Nortje also captured a wicket in his opening over, dismissing Kamindu Mendis for 11.

Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj struck twice with wickets off successive deliveries when seasoned all-rounder Angelo Mathews went briefly on the counter-attack with two sixes before he was caught for 16 to give Nortje his final wicket.

South Africa also struggled against the pace bowlers, losing two wickets for 23 at which point Tristan Stubbs was dropped by Kusal Mendis off Dasun Shanaka.

Captain Quinton de Kock lofted a six before he was caught and bowled by his opposite number Wanindu Hasaranga for 20 and the leg-spinner then dismissed Stubbs for 13, caught brilliantly by Charith Asalanka diving to his left before David Miller finally secured victory by whipping a four to long-on.

(Reporting John Mehaffey in GeorgetownEditing by Christian Radnedge)

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