World Cup 2019: South Africa thrash Sri Lanka in warm-up match

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South Africa captain Faf du Plessis hit a fluid 88 when his team loosened to a 87-race victory over Sri Lanka in a warm-up game of the Cricket World Cup in Sophia Gardens on Friday.

South Africa was sent to bat in the training match, which did not have the official status of One-Day International, and scored 338 for seven, before defeating their opponents by 251 in 42.3 over.

The Proteas were left without fast bowler Dale Steyn, who is not in shape after a repeat of his shoulder problem, but were taken to victory by the seamstress Lungi Ngidi (2-12 in six shots) and Andile Phehlukwayo (4) 36 in 7 overs).

Ngidi reduced Sri Lanka to 10 for two but excellent half-centuries of captain Dimuth Karunaratne (87 of 92 balls) and Angelo Mathews (64 of 66 balls) kept next to the subcontinent in the contest.

However, the running speed kept increasing, and both batters were caught in the depths trying to accelerate the innings, with the cunning of Phehlukwayo in particular stifling the pursuit.

South Africa will be relieved with runs at the top of the order for starter Hashim Amla, as he reached 65 from 61 balls before being thrown by bowler Jeevan Mendis.

That could win him approval ahead of Aiden Markram (21) for the opening match of the South African World Cup against England on Thursday, with the pair competing for a spot alongside Kock’s Quinton, who did not hit on Friday.

Du Plessis looked with a magnificent touch his 88 of 69 balls, which included four sixes before he skied a delivery of Dhananjaya de Silva and was caught.

Several of the other South African hitters had started, but no one else published half a century, although Rassie van der Dussen (40) and Phehlukwayo (35) enjoyed their visits to the fold.

With only 69 balls to demolish Sri Lanka’s attack in Cardiff, Du Plessis was the cornerstone of the innings, while Amla’s 65 came with only 61 balls.

Rassie van der Dussen (40) and Andile Phehlukwayo (35) also impressed when South Africa reached an impressive total of 338 for seven in their 50 shots.

Sri Lanka’s response revolved around captain Dimuth Karunaratne, who hit 87 and 64 in 66 balls from Angelo Mathews, but South Africa’s bowling attack proved as effective as his hitters.

Phehlukwayo added to his batting feats by taking four by 36 with the ball, as Sri Lanka’s challenge ended in 251.

The Proteas face the West Indies in another warm-up game at Bristol on Sunday, before opening the tournament against host England on May 30.

Sri Lanka plays for Australia in their last warm-up match in Southampton on Monday, then starts their World Cup campaign against New Zealand on June 1.

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