South Africa captain AB de Villiers praised opener Hashim Amla and leg-spinner Imran Tahir in South Africa’s huge 96-run win over Sri Lanka in their Champions Trophy opener.
The Proteas posted 299 at The Oval on Saturday thanks to former captain Amla, who scored his 25th ODI centur y. He was the fastest to the milestone, having got there in 151 innings.
“It was an amazing innings by Hashim. He did really well to assess the conditions, and communicated well with us what kind of score was going to be good,” De Villiers said.
Sri Lanka were cruising at 116 for two when Imran Tahir was introduced to the attack and the momentum swung in South Africa’s favour immediately.
Tahir was Man of the Match after finishing with four wickets for 27 runs.
“It was close to 10 out of 10,” De Villiers said. “Not only with the ball in hand but that run-out, it always shows me where the player is at when he shows that kind of dedication and commitment in the field.
He is a great asset for us. “He takes wickets and he is also economical most of the time. He had a fantastic performance today.”
South Africa’s fielding was outstanding as they produced two run outs through direct hits while the catching was top class. “We worked really hard at that part of our game, and I am very happy with the way it went today,” De Villiers said.
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, were in trouble after they took four hours and seven minutes to finish their 50 overs. The time allocated to bowl the 50 overs in an innings is 3½ hours.
The ICC banned captain Upul Tharanga for the next two games against India and Pakistan and the Sri Lankans were fined.
“We were slow between the overs. The umpire brought it to my notice in the 40th over that we were three overs behind,” Tharanga said.
Sri Lanka got off to a solid start, reaching 82 for one at the end of the 10th over, but failed to capitalise.
“When[Dinesh] Chandimal and I were batting, we were trying to build a partnership,” Tharanga said. “The run out of Chandimal was costly and then [Chamara] Kapugedera was out.
“We still had a good run rate, but we lost too many wickets half-way through the innings. “Someone needed to make a big score when chasing 300.”