Isuru Udana’s astonishing 84* for Sri Lanka wasn’t enough to stop South Africa from clinching their Twenty20 international series with a 16-run win in the second match at SuperSport Park on Friday.
Udana smashed that score off just 48 balls to take Sri Lanka from a seemingly hopeless position to one where they had an outside chance of winning.
It initially looked easy for South Africa, who scored 180 for 3 after being sent in, with Reeza Hendricks hitting a fluent 65 and Rassie van der Dussen a powerfully-struck 64.
Sri Lanka lost their first four wickets in the first four overs and were floundering at 62 for 6 when Udana walked in to bat in the 10th over.
But, as he did in the fourth One-Day International, Udana overshadowed the recognised batsmen with a superb display of clean hitting, although he had a let-off when he was caught on the long-on boundary off JP Duminy when on 31, only for Duminy to be no-balled for over-stepping. Udana hit eight fours and six sixes.
Niroshan Dickwella (20) and Thisara Perera (22) got starts but couldn’t convert it into something substantial. For South Africa, Chris Morris took three wickets, while Dale Steyn and Tabraiz Shamsi picked up two each.
Earlier, Hendricks and Van der Dussen put on 116 off 78 balls for South Africa’s second wicket.
Hendricks started the season as one of the favourites to make South Africa’s squad for the World Cup later this year but a run of poor form, together with the resurgence of Aiden Markram, put his chances in doubt.
Markram opened the batting with Hendricks on Friday but was out for 3 in the second over.
While Man of the Match Van der Dussen’s innings was marked by power hitting, which brought him four fours and three sixes, Hendricks oozed class as he struck nine fours in a 46-ball innings marked by fluent off-side drives.