Nortje’s Fiery Spell Leads South Africa to Victory Over Sri Lanka in T20 World Cup

South Africa’s Anrich Nortje delivered a sensational performance, taking four wickets for just seven runs, as South Africa bowled out Sri Lanka for a record low total of 77. This led to a six-wicket win in their T20 World Cup opener in New York on Monday. Sri Lanka’s 77 was their lowest total in all T20 cricket, with Nortje’s figures setting a new record for South Africa at a T20 World Cup, surpassing his previous best of 4-10 against Bangladesh two years ago.

“It’s been a while since I’ve had those figures,” said Nortje, the player of the match, during the presentation ceremony. “Just happy to have pulled it off for the team. We didn’t know what to expect from the pitch, we’d heard one or two rumors about it being up and down.”

Kagiso Rabada (2-21) and left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj (2-22) also contributed significantly, further damaging Sri Lanka’s chances. Only Kusal Mendis (19) and Angelo Mathews (16) managed to score more than 15 runs, as Sri Lankan captain Wanindu Hasaranga’s decision to bat first backfired.

South Africa also faced difficulties with the bat on the tricky pitch, losing early wickets. However, Heinrich Klaasen’s quick 19 not out, which included a six and a four off successive deliveries, ensured South Africa reached 80-4 with 26 balls to spare.

The challenging conditions raised concerns about the upcoming marquee match between India and Pakistan at the same venue. South Africa’s captain, Aiden Markram, acknowledged the tough batting conditions and emphasized the importance of adapting strategies for future games. Despite the challenging pitch, the team remained optimistic about their next two matches at the venue.

Sri Lanka’s captain, Wanindu Hasaranga, admitted their misjudgment of the pitch, aiming for a higher total than the pitch conditions allowed. South Africa’s debutant Ottneil Baartman triggered Sri Lanka’s collapse by taking a wicket with his first ball, followed by Nortje and Maharaj’s effective spells, sealing Sri Lanka’s fate.

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