Sri Lanka fall to record low 77 all out on way to T20 World Cup loss against South Africa

Fast-bowler Anrich Nortje takes career-best 4-7 before Proteas go on to seal six-wicket win on tricky New York surface

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Sri Lanka suffered a miserable start to their T20 World Cup campaign after they were skittled out for just 77 against South Africa on way to a six-wicket loss in New York on Monday.

South Africa's Anrich Nortje took a remarkable four wickets for just seven runs – the best by a Proteas bowler at a T20 World Cup, passing his own 4-10 against Bangladesh in Sydney two years ago.

In stark contrast, Sri Lanka collapsed to their lowest total in T20 cricket and the 13th lowest score in the tournament's history.

Kagiso Rabada (2-21) and left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, who took two wickets in two balls on his way to 2-22, also struck after Sri Lanka captain Wanindu Hasaranga won the toss. Opener Kusal Mendis (19) and veteran all-rounder Angelo Mathews (16) were the only batsmen to pass 15.

Sri Lanka were bowled out with five balls to spare when last man Nuwan Thushara was run out for one of four ducks in the innings.

“We did want to bat first, we were hoping for 160-170 but now we know it was more of a 120-130 wicket, especially with our bowlers,” said Sri Lanka captain Wanindu Hasaranga.

“We know our strength is in our bowling and that's why we chose to bat first because we back ourselves to defend.

“We still have three games to go in the group. Yes, we wanted a lot more from today and perform a lot better. But I was very pleased with how our bowlers performed after the batting, we just need our batting to come together and we will be feeling confident.”

South Africa opted to play sensibly on a tricky surface in response to such a small target. Quinton de Kock top scored with 20 - with just one boundary - while even the normally explosive Tristan Stubbs (13 from 28 balls) curbed his attacking instincts.

Hasaranga took 2-22 but – after a slight wobble at 58-4 – South Africa's Heinrich Klaasen kept a calm head to finish off proceedings for the Proteas with an unbeaten 19 alongside David Miller (six not out).

“Happy with the win. Credit for what we did in the field but the batting was a bit up and down,” said South Africa captain Aiden Markram, who contributed 12 to the total.

“It's a tough one from a batting point of view. You try your best to take the pitch out of it if one misbehaves, it's just one of those things.

“Hopefully we can take some learning out of it and find ways to put the bowlers under pressure.”

And Nortje was in a positive mood after his career-best figures. “Very happy,” he said. “I've been feeling good, it just hasn't paid off in the last few games. It's great to finally get a result, some balls went my way but I try not to look too deep into it.

“It's a great win for the team, everyone bowled really well. Kudos to the rest of the guys as well. It's been a while since I've had those figures. Just happy to have pulled it off for the team.”

“I find it quite hard on these drop-in wickets because of where you land and where you jump,” added the player of the match. “It's a bit of a tough one but you try to find momentum.

“It's just trying to adapt as quickly as possible and find a rhythm. The plans were simple so that helped me.”

Updated: June 03, 2024, 7:38 PM