Isuru Udana's 48-ball 84* in vain as South Africa clinch series

Rassie van der Dussen goes for a pull
South Africa v Sri Lanka, 2nd T20I, Centurion March 22, 2019

South Africa 180 for 3 (Hendricks 65, van der Dussen 64) beat Sri Lanka 164 for 9 (Udana 84*, Morris 3-32, Shamsi 2-16) by 16 runs

Reeza Hendricks and Rassie van der Dussen produced a scintillating second-wicket century stand, upon which was founded yet another comfortable South Africa win. The hosts took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match T20I series with this 16-run victory in Pretoria, but don't let that margin fool you. Sri Lanka never seemed to have the measure of their target of 181.

Sri Lanka's No. 8 batsman Isuru Udana produced another magnificent show of lower-order hitting, walloping six sixes and eight fours in his unbeaten 48-ball 84. But even when he arrived at the crease, the required run rate was almost 12 an over. He managed to get Sri Lanka only within sight of the target, without ever really threatening it. Nevertheless, Udana has perhaps batted his way into a World Cup berth, having been good with the bat right throughout these South Africa limited-overs series.

But it was really the 116-run stand between Hendricks and van der Dussen that was the centrepiece of South Africa's victory. The partnership began with a boundary - van der Dussen crashing the last ball of the second over through the covers. Despite a quiet Powerplay, the stand blossomed between overs seven and 14 - South Africa travelling at over ten an over through that period. Thisara Perera, in particular, came in for punishment - van der Dussen clobbering a six over midwicket in his first over, before repeating the treatment twice in his second - an over that went for 19 runs in all.

While van der Dussen was clearing the rope, though, Hendricks was lacing wayward balls through the infield, prospering through the covers in particular, where he hit four of his nine boundaries, but also through backward point and midwicket, where he hit the other five. Several of those boundaries came off genuinely good balls - Hendricks using his wrists to manufacture powerful strokes.

Hendricks brought up his half-century off the 38th delivery he faced, cutting a Kamindu Mendis slow left-arm delivery powerfully behind point for four. Van der Dussen got to the milestone next over, off the 34th ball, and just when it started looking like the pair were setting South Africa up for a truly gargantuan score, Lasith Malinga injected himself into the attack, and had Hendricks hole out to mid-off, with a slower ball. He was out for 65 off 49 balls.

Van der Dussen hit one more four, swatting Udana through midwicket on the 16th over, bowled by Udana. But he was himself out not long after when he ran at Akila Dananjaya, yorked himself and was bowled.

The death overs for South Africa were largely handled by Duminy. David Miller was present at the other end, but struggled against Sri Lanka's slower balls, and wound up only with a run-a-ball nine. Duminy, meanwhile, was industrious right throughout his innings, socking Udana over cover for four off the eighth delivery he faced, before hitting one more four and two sixes in his 17-ball 33 not out.

In response, Sri Lanka were more or less pathetic in the first 14 overs, surrendering seven wickets and allowing the required run rate to climb over 14 an over. Avishka Fernando and Kusal Mendis both departed in the first over of the chase - Dale Steyn rushing Avishka with his pace before grazing Kusal's off stump with an outswinger.

At one stage, Chris Morris was even on a hat-trick, having had Niroshan Dickwella caught at mid-on before nicking Kamindu Mendis off the first ball. But Morris wasn't the only South Africa bowler who was threatening the Sri Lanka batsmen. Dwaine Pretorius took 1 for 22, while Tabraiz Shamsi claimed 2 for 16 from his four overs. Opening bowlers Steyn and Morris had wreaked the most damage though, taking a combined five wickets.

Udana's outstanding lower-order hitting helped narrow the gap, but Sri Lanka's top order was once again been unable to resist the South Africa bowlers - even those from a depleted attack. The next-best score after Udana's was Thisara's 22 as no batsman appeared capable of attacking for a significant length of time.

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