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Angry Timid Sri Lanka let South Africa off the hook - 06-05-2017, 08:41 AM

It was an extremely disappointing start to the tournament for the Sri Lankans. Missing captain Angelo Mathews badly, they showed all the reasons why they have been so inconsistent in the past 18 months.

The bowlers started strongly and then fought-back well in the final death overs after a wonderful partnership between Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis. There were also glimpses of promises with a lively start from Niroshan Dickwella and Upul Tharanga.

However, there was also a lack of clarity in purpose and a confusion in role identification. The players were too timid to decisively commit to their strengths or the situational requirements.

As a Sri Lankan, I hope they are able to regroup and commit to a brand of cricket the fully displays the wonderful talents and abilities I know they possess.

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South Africa, on the other hand, will be delighted to have completed a comprehensive win, bagging critical points, but they did not play like a champion side. No future opponent watching them today would have thought they were witnessing a ruthless and clinical performance by an unbeatable side.

However, what they did show was character. They showed the ability to come back from tough situations and they also showed once again that in leg-spinner Imran Tahir they have a talisman that makes their attack far more potent and effective. He is a match winner who lifts the entire side with his skill and exuberance.

AB de Villiers also had a good game in charge of the South Africans. Except for giving Wayne Parnell a few too many overs at the start of the innings, he marshaled his side with skill and authority. Field settings were imaginative and challenging. His bowling changes for the most part were smart and effective.

Although not dominant, South Africa will be relieved with the result and also confident in the knowledge that it is capable of much better.
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