South Africa complete 3-0 drubbing

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Kagiso Rabada sent Bhanuka Rajapaksa’s stumps cartwheeling as South Africa restricted Sri Lanka to 120 and then chased down the target with 32 balls to spare and ten wickets in hand. South Africa completed a 3-0 whitewash.

by Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka’s T-20 woes have been well and truly exposed ahead of a major tournament as South Africa completed a 3-0 rout at RPS last night. Set a target of 121, the tourists romped home to a comprehensive ten wicket win with Quniton de Kock and Reeza Hendricks finishing the run chase with 32 deliveries to spare.

Only one other time Sri Lanka had lost a T-20 International by ten wickets. That was during the inaugural World T-20 in 2007 when they went down to Australia in Cape Town. That was with 58 balls to spare while this one was with 32 deliveries in hand.

The Proteas have been hardly tested in this series as they won the opening encounter by 28 runs, sealed the series with a nine wicket win and then rubbed salt into the wounds by completing the whitewash having won the dead rubber with ease.

Sri Lanka lost three wickets during the Power Plays and never recovered to post a competitive total with Kusal Perera top-scoring with 39 runs. Chamika Karunaratne hit an unbeaten 24 and stitched a 19 run stand for the ninth wicket to save the side from embarrassment.

Kagiso Rabada bowled a hostile spell taking a return catch in his first over to dismiss Avishka Fernando. In his next over, Bhanuka Rajapaksa was walking away from the stumps and he followed the batsman with a nasty bouncer. In the next ball, he gave away a boundary, and with Rajapaksa giving himself room for the third delivery, bowled a straight one with mean pace to send the stumps cartwheeling.

It was a superb display of fast bowling and having troubled Rajapaksa throughout the series, you can safely say, Rabada has found his bunny.

With the World Cup just around the corner, Sri Lanka are still in an experimenting mood and without a settled batting line-up, they are losing too many wickets in the Power Plays and then getting bogged down in the middle overs leaving too much for the tail to do in the slog overs.

The middle-order comprising Dasun Shanaka and Wanindu Hasaranga are in such a wretched form while the replacements the selectors are bringing in aren’t working.

Quinton de Kock and Reeza Hendricks posted half-centuries as they completed the run chase inside 15 overs. Their 121 run stand is the highest partnership in T-20 Internationals between the countries for any wicket.

De Kock was unbeaten on 59 off 46 balls with seven fours while Hendricks was 56 not out off 42 balls with five fours and one six.

There was nothing much the bowlers could do on a good batting track. The feature during the run chase was Kamindu Mendis bowling off-spin to the left-hander and then switching to left-arm orthodox spin for the right-handed batsman. He did not have great control but with exposure, the ambidextrous Richmondite could go places.



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2021/09/15

Former Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga announced his retirement from T20 cricket yesterday. Malinga picked up 390 wickets in 295 matches. He had already retired from Tests in 2011 and from ODIs in 2019. The pacer had also announced his retirement from franchise cricket in January this year after being released by Mumbai Indians.

Malinga finishes with astonishing figures – a strike rate of 16.60, an economy of 7.07 and an average of 19.68. He was the first bowler to bag 100 T20I wickets before ending with 107 scalps. He finishes fourth in the highest wicket-taker category in the list behind Dwayne Bravo, Imran Tahir and Sunil Narine.

“Today is a very special day for me. I want to thank each one of you who have supported me throughout my T20 career. Today I have decided to give 100 per cent rest to my T20 bowling shoes,” he said. “I want to thank Sri Lanka cricket board, Mumbai Indians, Melbourne Stars, Kent Cricket Club, Rangpur Riders, Guyana Warriors, Maratha Warriors and Montreal Tigers. I now want to share my experience with young cricketers who want to play franchise cricket and for their national team.

“While my shoes rest, my love for the game will never ask for rest. Looking forward to seeing our youngsters make history.”

Malinga, one of the best T20 bowlers of all time, was a crucial figure in the teams he represented in Indian Premier League, Big Bash League, Caribbean Premier League, and other franchise tournaments. He was part of four of the five IPL championship wins with Mumbai Indians but had opted out of the 2020 tournament.

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2021/09/14

Sri Lanka has several athletes in the calibre of Nilani Ratnayake who could excel at some of the international events happening in 2022.

Sri Lanka Athletics announces calendar for 2022

by Reemus Fernando

How to keep training uninterrupted amidst the Covid-19 pandemic to succeed at international events is the biggest problem the track and field athletes need to find answers to in the sport’s centenary year in 2022 as Sri Lanka Athletics announced a busy 2022 Competition calendar inclusive of three major international competitions yesterday.

Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and World Championships are the major international competitions that Sri Lanka Athletics has traditionally given priority to. The sport’s governing body which celebrates its centenary year in 2022 is ambitions about sending teams to all these international events.

However, track and field governing body is still struggling to complete the 2021 edition of the National Championship due to the Covid 19 pandemic. The Sri Lanka Athletics decided to conduct the 2021 Nationals in stages due to the pandemic. It held its first stage in April but had to post

pone the second stage on more than one occasion due to the pandemic.

When the governing body announced the Calendar for the year 2022 it also announced the dates for the remaining stage of the National Championship 2021. That will be held on October 30 and 31.

The Covid 19 pandemic dealt a severe blow to the aspirations of track and field athletes as lockdowns hampered their training and also prevented them from taking part in supportive minor international events in the region in both 2020 and 2021. While top athletes struggled to improve their world rankings due to the unavailability of quality international competitions, the bio secure environments for training were a luxury only the cricketers could enjoy.

Sri Lanka has several athletes who could excel at some of the above said international events and the vital Junior International events which will happen in 2022. The likes of Nilani Ratnayake who missed Olympic qualifying standards due to lack of competitions should be supported to achieve success at Asian level.

The athletes who missed Olympic Qualifying standards due to lack of international competitions will be eager to take part in these events in 2022 and the Asian Youth Championships, Asian Junior Championships and World Junior Championships are vital to keep juniors interested in track and field sports. But with Covid-19 pandemic still making it difficult for athletes to train safely in the country it will be incumbent upon sports authorities to make necessary arrangements for at least the athletes in the elite pools to train in bio secure environments.

While a coach of a junior athletics team could not travel with his athlete after being found positive to Covid-19 ahead of the World Junior Championships in July another coach of a Para athlete had to skip training ahead of the Tokyo Paralympics due to Covid 19. Meanwhile a number of sportsmen and women contacted Covid 19 while using the Sports Ministry’s hostels at Torrington during the last few months.

Such disappointments can be avoided if necessary arrangements are be made for selected athletics teams to train in bio secure bubbles.

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2021/09/14

Chinaman bowler Tabraiz Shamsi has troubled the Sri Lankans throughout the series and he has established himself as world’s number one ranked bowler in T20 cricket.

by Rex Clementine

After a hard fought win in the ODI series, old problems have resurfaced for Sri Lanka in T20 cricket as the team is unable to bat out the 20 overs.

Sri Lanka handed the T20 series to the Proteas on Sunday after suffering a heavy nine wicket defeat with 35 balls to spare. The Proteas had won the opening game by 28 runs.

On Sunday, having been bowled out for 103 runs, Sri Lanka had little chance although the wicket had lot of assistance for spinners. Having consolidated their position during the Power Play, the tourists cruised to win to clinch the series with a game to spare.

The series was a good preparation ahead of next month’s World Cup. But not sure whose bright idea it was to play the games on rank turners.

For ICC events, you can expect belters and Sri Lanka would have been better off preparing sporting tracks.

South Africa’s spinners have outperformed their Sri Lankan rivals and chinaman bowler Tabraiz Shamsi has been a revelation.

Ranked world’s number one bowler in the shortest format of the game, Shamsi rarely sends down a bad ball and also picks up crucial wickets.

The left-arm wrist spinner has been well backed up by the duo of Kehav Maharaj and Bjon Fortuin, both of whom bowl left-arm orthodox spin. Part-timer Aiden Markram picked up three wickets with his off-spin in the second game.

South Africans have used the sweep; both conventional and reverse to good effect to counter opposition spinners. Sri Lankan batters need a good lesson or two on sweeping.

The hosts aren’t making best use of Power Plays and to make things worse, their innings is not well paced out which has resulted in them being bowled out without utilizing 20 overs.

A tough contest against a strong South African side will stand the hosts in good test especially when they play the qualifying round ahead of the World Cup.

With the series gone, Sri Lanka will be looking for a consolation win in the final encounter. Both teams are expected to do a few changes to give their reserves a chance.

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