South Africa’s Hashim Amla celebrates reaching his century in the Sri Lanka vs South Africa match at the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy at the Oval on Saturday. Picture: ACTION IMAGES via REUTERS/PETER CZIBORRA
South Africa’s Hashim Amla celebrates reaching his century in the Sri Lanka vs South Africa match at the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy at the Oval on Saturday. Picture: ACTION IMAGES via REUTERS/PETER CZIBORRA

London — SA captain AB de Villiers praised opener Hashim Amla and leg-spinner Imran Tahir in the Proteas’ huge 96-run win over Sri Lanka in their Champions Trophy opener.

The Proteas posted 299 at The Oval on Saturday, thanks to former captain Amla, who scored his 25th ODI century. He was the fastest to the milestone having got there in 151 innings.

"It was an amazing innings by Hashim. He did really well to assess the conditions and communicated well with us what kind of score was going to be good," De Villiers said.

Sri Lanka were cruising at 116/2 when Imran Tahir was introduced to the attack and the momentum swung in SA’s favour immediately.

Tahir was man of the match after finishing with 4/27.

"It was close to 10 out of 10," said De Villiers. "Not only with the ball in hand but that run out, it always shows me where the player is at when he shows that kind of dedication and commitment in the field. He is a great asset for us. Tahir takes wickets and he is also economical most of the time. He had a fantastic performance today."

SA’s fielding was outstanding as they produced two run-outs through direct hits while the catching was top class.

"It’s always important to take those moments. Those little opportunities that come your way, which we did.

Sri Lanka, meanwhile, were in trouble after they took four hours and seven minutes to finish their 50 overs. The time allocated to bowl the 50 overs in an innings is three and half hours.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) banned captain Upul Tharanga for the next two games against India and Pakistan and the Sri Lankans were fined.

"We were slow between the overs. The umpire brought it to my notice in the 40th over that we were three overs behind," Tharanga told journalists after the gamesaid.Sri Lanka got off to a solid start reaching 82/1 at the end of the 10th over, but then failed to capitalise."When Chandimal and I were batting, we were trying to build a partnership."The run out of Chandimal was costly and then after that Kapugedera got out soon. We still had a good run rate, but we lost too many wickets half way through the innings."Someone needed to make a big score when chasing a target of 300," Tharanga said.Lasith Malinga was returning to one-day cricket after 19 months having been sidelined due to injury and Tharanga said he was pleased with the effort of the fast bowler.

India thrashed Pakistan by 124 runs in the arch-rivals’ Champions Trophy opener at Edgbaston on Sunday.

Pakistan, set a revised target of 289 in 41 overs following three rain interruptions, finished on 164, with injured last man Wahab Riaz unable to bat as India won with 44 balls to spare. India had previously piled up 319/3 in 48 overs after Pakistan won the toss.

Rohit Sharma top-scored with 91 and put on 136 for the first wicket with Shikhar Dhawan (68).

India captain Virat Kohli made 81 not out, sharing a quickfire third-wicket stand with Yuvraj Singh (53) as Pakistan paid a heavy price for dropping both batsmen.

India plundered 72 runs in their final four overs as Pakistan’s attack wilted.

AFP

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