Cape Town - A career-best five-for by Thando Ntini was not enough for the South Africa Emerging team as they suffered a four-wicket loss to their Sri Lanka counterparts in the opening match of the One-Day triangular series in Pretoria on Saturday.
The right-arm paceman nabbed five for 46 in nine overs, but it could not prevent the tourists from cantering to a 187-run victory target with more than 11 overs to spare.
It was a disappointing loss for a strongly-assembled home side, who struggled to a limp 185 all out in 46 overs after losing the toss and being put into bat first.
This despite a strong opening stand of 71 between top-scorer Tony de Zorzi and Matthew Breetzke that came from 14 overs. The latter scored 27, while the former went on to strike 58 off 79 balls (7 fours).
Both fell during a rocky spell in which four quicks went down - leaving the South Africans on 115 for four.
But Jason Smith (33) and Wandile Makwetu (25) rebuilt well to take their side to 161 for four with still more than 10 overs to go.
Amila Aponso (3/22) and Asitha Fernando (3/33), though, rocked the lower order as the last six wickets fell for only 24, the home side failing to bat out the final overs in a poor finish.
Ntini’s brilliance then saw him demolish the Sri Lankan top order and leave them on 43 for five after only 10 overs.
However, an unbeaten 76 off 78 balls (12 fours) by Ashen Bandara as well as 60 off 104 (8 fours, 1 six) from Shammu Ashan secured a remarkable recovery.
The pair put on 132 for the sixth wicket, sucking the life out of South Africa and leading their side to a superb win.
The SA Emerging team play University Sports South Africa (USSA) in match two on Sunday.
SA Emerging squad:
Tony de Zorzi (Titans), Janneman Malan (Cape Cobras), Raynard van Tonder (Knights), Matthew Breetzke (Warriors), Wandile Makwetu (Knights), Sinethemba Qeshile (Warriors), Sibonelo Makhanya (Dolphins), Eathan Bosch (Dolphins), Tshepang Dithole (Highveld Lions), Tladi Bokako (Cape Cobras), Nandre Burger (Cape Cobras), Kyle Simmonds (Cape Cobras), Lutho Sipamla (Warriors), Bjorn Fortuin (Highveld Lions), Jason Smith (Cape Cobras), Dayyaan Galiem (Titans), Thando Ntini (Warriors)