It was the decider match between Sri Lanka and South Africa, i.e the third and final ODI of the series. The stage to the final ODI was perfectly set up with both the teams winning a game each. So, all eyes were on the final game. It was a day game and South Africa had won the toss and opted to bat first.
It was quite a good start for the South Africans with De Kock and Hashim Amla opening the innings for the Proteas. Amla was in prime form prior to today’s match with 2 back to back centuries in the previous 2 encounters. Also it was the trump card for Sri Lanka, Lasith Malinga who opened the bowling for them. Right from the start, South Africa dominated the innings and none of the bowlers in the likes of Senanayake, Mathews and Mendis were able to trouble the openers. The opening partnership contributed over hundred runs and in good pace. Also, the young talent, De Kock who did not find his nick in the prior two games, looked in perfect shape today and was middling the ball well. In the 22nd over to the South African innings, Sri lanka got their first breakthrough. Amla was dismissed at a score of48 runs and the score was 118 when the first wicket fell. Then came in the veteran all-rounder, Jacques Kallis. But for one more time, the all-rounder disappointed with his performance and managed to score only 4 runs today before getting out. Then came in the captain of the South African team, AB De Villiers. AB looked in prime touch in the first two games and the team needed him to play a blistering innings on the final ODI. Both De Kock and AB steadied the South African innings and they were heading towards a giant alike score. All the bowlers seemed helpless infront of the two batsmen. De Kock reached his century and he is the youngest player to have scored 5 centuries in ODIs. In fact, it was his 5th ODI century of this year. Really, this young man is gem for the South African team. In the 41st over, he was dismissed by Senanayake and the partnership contributed 116 runs. AB de Villiers carried on with his destructive innings and even he completed his century. There were a cameo innings of 29 runs from Duminy at the deck and South Africa reached a score of 339 runs. AB de Villiers scored 108 runs. It was a fantastic innings from him. No bowler did manage to put up an impressive performance and Malinga conceded 85 runs in his 10 overs.
Chasing 340 runs in a decider match was never going to be easy. Yet at the era of T20 cricket the chase was pretty much possible. Kusal Perera and Dilshan opened the innings for the Lankans and they headed off to a flier. They reached 50 runs inside 5 overs. But the first breakthrough was brought by Parnell in the 6th over in the form of Perera. Sangakkara came in next and started building a solid partnership with Dilshan in no time but to add to the Lankan sorrow, Dilshan was run out in the 12th over and the partnership was broken. Then came in the most dependable batsman of the line up, Mahela Jayawardena. But he disappointed with his performance today and managed to score just 2 runs. Sangakkara was even dismissed in the same over and Sri Lanka were in deep trouble. None of the batsmen were able to play a perfect innings and they looked to be getting derailed to the chase. Mathews did manage to put a brave fight but it was not enough to save the team. Mathews scored 58 runs but it took 81 balls for him to make the score. He was the top-scorer for his side. Finally, Sri Lanka were bundled at a score of 257 runs in 44 overs and thus they lost the match by a margin of 82 runs. McLaren was the pick of the bowlers for the South Africans and he took 3 wickets by conceding 37 runs in his 8 overs. Duminy and Morkel took 2wickets each.
South Africa just dominated over the Lankans throughout the game and with this win, they clinch the series and it is their first series win in Sri Lanka.