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Bowlers power South Africa to victory in T20 World Cup opener against Sri Lanka

The bowlers starred as South Africa recorded a six-wicket victory against Sri Lanka in their T20 World Cup opener at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York.

Chasing a below-par target of 78, Heinrich Klaasen (19*) and David Miller (6*) saw the Proteas get over the line with more than three overs to spare.

The damage was done early by the Proteas bowlers after Sri Lanka captain Wanindu Hasaranga had surprisingly opted to bat at a venue that was hosting it's first official international match.

The Asian outfit struggled to adapt to the unknown pitch and were under pressure when Ottniel Baartman, playing in his first global ICC event, prized the wicket of opener Pathum Nissanka (3) in the fourth over.

The Proteas then took wickets at regular intervals with fast bowler Anrich Nortje making a welcome return to form with remarkable figures of 4-7 in his four overs.

Spinner Keshav Maharaj found himself on a hat-trick in the ninth over when dismissing Hasaranga and Sadeera Samarawickrama off successive deliveries and eventually finished with 2-22.

Kagiso Rabada chipped in with 2-21 while Baartman was outstanding, only conceding nine runs in his four overs, as Sri Lanka were bowled out for just 77 after 19.1 overs.

Only three batters reached the double-figure mark with Kusal Mendis (19), Kamindu Mendis (11) and Angelo Mathews (16) making a dent in the scoreboard.

The Proteas made a bit of heavy weather of the run-chase, courtesy of the Sri Lanka bowling attack and the uneven nature of the surface.

Nuwan Thushara had Reeza Hendricks (4) caught a first slip while fellow seamer Dasun Shanaka squared up skipper Aiden Markram, who had to walk back to the dressing room for 12.
Quinton de Kock (20) and Tristan Stubbs (13) also lost their wickets but the Proteas got off to a successful start at the global tournament.

South Africa next face Netherlands at the same venue on Saturday while Sri Lanka face Bangladesh on the same day in Dallas.

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