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WT20: Proteas crush Sri Lanka by 8 wickets in dead rubber

New Delhi: South Africa brought curtains on their World Twenty20 campaign with a comfortable eight-wicket win over defending champions Sri Lanka in an inconsequential Super 10 Group 1 cricket match here tonight.

Put into bat, Sri Lanka frittered away a solid start to be bowled out for 120 in 19.3 overs as left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso opened the gates for their capitulation with his twin-strike in the fifth over.

South Africa's Aaron Phangiso(C)celebrates the wicket of Sri Lanka's batsman Lahiru Thirimanne with wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock(L)and captain Faf du Plessis(2L),Kyle Abbott(2R)and Dale Steyn(R)during the World T20 cricket tournament match between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Feroz Shah Kotla cricket ground in New Delhi on March 28, 2016.
South Africa's Aaron Phangiso (C) celebrates the wicket of Sri Lanka's batsman Lahiru Thirimanne with wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock (L)and captain Faf du Plessis (2L), Kyle Abbott (2R)and Dale Steyn (R)during the World T20 match at Feroz Shah Kotla cricket ground in New Delhi on Monday. Pic/AFP

Openers Tillkaratane Dilshan (36) and stand-in skipper Dinesh Chandimal (21) had provided Sri Lanka their best start in the tournament with their quick-fire 45-run stand but Phangiso sent back Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne (0) in successive balls and Sri Lanka could never recover from the setback.

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir also contributed with his tight spell in which he dismissed Chamara Kapugedera, giving away only 18 runs in his four overs. Farhaan Behardien (2/15) and Kyle Abbott (2/14) chipped in with two wickets each as they also benefited from the pressure created by the spinners. 

South Africa chased down the modest target without any fuss with ever-consistent Hashim Amla scoring a well-calculated 56-run knock off 52 balls and skipper Faf du Plessis contributing 31 off 36 balls.

They raised a 60-run partnership for the second wicket, which was broken when paceman Suranga Lakmal trapped the rival captain in the last ball of the 13th over. South Africa had lost Quinton de Kock (9) early through a run out.

Close to 17,000 fans had gathered at the Feroze Shah Kotla ground to watch hugely popular AB De Villiers in the dead rubber and the chants of 'AB' 'AB' reverberated at the ground when he made his way to the crease after Du Plessis' dismissal.

The big-hitting batsman made 20 off 12 balls as he entertained the crowd with two sixes, the second one finishing the match in the 18th over. 

Amla had hit the first six off the innings in the 16th over and with that shot he completed 1000 runs T20 internationals. 

Amla's knock was packed with five fours and a six. Sri Lanka, enduring a very tough transition phase, now have lost 13 of their last 17 matches. They badly missed skipper Angelo Mathews, who did not play due to a hamstring injury sustained in the last game.

South Africa were slow but steady in their chase, reaching 50-run mark in 9.2 overs and had the luxury of wickets in hands. Amla and du Plessis mostly relied in ones and twos and found an odd boundary in between. Sri Lanka persisted with spinners but had too low a total to defend.

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