Cape Town - Dwaine Pretorius made a maiden half-century and was involved in two important partnerships with Reeza Hendricks and JP Duminy to put the Proteas on their way to victory by 45 runs on the DLS method and a series clean sweep in the final T20 International match at the Wanderers Stadium on Sunday.
SCORECARD: Proteas v Sri Lanka, 3rd T20I
Pretorius, who had not batted in any of his three previous T20 International matches, grabbed his chance when he finally got the opportunity in the pivotal No 3 position. He shared all-important partnerships of 90 for the second wicket with Hendricks (a career best 66 off 52 balls, 8 fours and 2 sixes) and then an unbroken 71 for the third wicket with Duminy (34 not out off 14 balls, 2 fours and 3 sixes) in just five overs.
Pretorius finished unbeaten on 77 (42 balls, 4 fours and 3 sixes) and for good measure took a wicket with his first ball when he came on to bowl.
The Sri Lankan reply got off to a decent start this time largely thanks to NIroshan Dikwella (38 off 22 balls, 7 fours) but then fell into their bad habits of old as they lost six wickets for 54 runs. They were nevertheless ahead on the comparative run rate as they had been throughout their innings although the number of wickets lost meant they were behind on the DLS method when rain interrupted play after 11.1 overs of their reply.
It left them with a revised target of 183 in 17 overs which effectively meant they had to score 72 off the remaining 35 balls.
However, they did have a trump card up their sleeves in the big-hitting Isuru Udana who had already scored 25 runs off just 12 balls, including three huge sixes, before the weather interruption. However, it meant he would have to do it all himself with only tail-enders left to bat around him.
They managed only 7 off the remaining 5 balls of Tabraiz Shamsi’s 12th over, reducing the target to 65 off 30 balls.
A couple of tight overs followed from Chris Morris and Shamsi, pushing the required rate up to 18 runs per over for the last three.
Andile Phehlukwayo started the next over with a no ball and a wide, then conceded a six before making the vital strike by having Udana caught on the boundary (36 off 23 balls, 4 sixes).
It left Sri Lanka needing 46 off 15 balls with no power hitters left at their disposal.
Phehlukwayo dismissed Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga in the same over to give him career best figures of 4/24 as the Proteas closed in for the kill.
The end was in sight as Lutho Sipamla cleaned up the tail with a double strike.