David Miller smashed a quick-fire 40 as a new-look South Africa defeated Sri Lanka by 19 runs in the rain-shortened first Twenty20 International on Friday. South Africa, who rested a number of experienced players and had five debutants, were sent in to bat in a game reduced to 10 overs a side and bludgeoned their way to 126 for five at Centurion Park.
Sri Lanka kept up with the run chase as they raced to 73 for one in the sixth over but then lost momentum as they lost five wickets in quick succession to finish well short on 107 for six. Miller (40 from 18 balls) and captain Farhaan Behardien (31 not out from 18 balls) provided the impetus for the home side’s innings as they put on 51 for the fourth wicket.
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Niroshan Dickwella (43 from 19 balls) provided a fast start for Sri Lanka in their reply but was caught at deep midwicket off leg-spinner Imran Tahir (2-23). Tahir also removed fellow opener Dhananjaya de Silva (27 from 16 balls) in the same over. The innings faded after that, with 20-year-old debutant fast bowler Lungisani Ngidi (2-12) impressive for the home side.
South Africa are trying a number of new players in this format and also handed debuts to batsmen Theunis de Bruyn and Jon-Jon Smuts, wicketkeeper Mangaliso Mosehle and all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo. Sri Lanka gave a first appearance to Thikshila de Silva, who fell for a first ball duck as he was caught in the deep off spinner Aaron Phangiso.
The second Twenty20 International will be played in Johannesburg on Sunday, before the series finale in Cape Town on Wednesday.