No sooner had South Africa begun to bat than one realised that the Sri Lankans were in it, to win it.
And could they be even doubted?
Early wickets, hence, a quick setback and eventually, a run rate that didn’t help the Protea cause one bit derailed South Africa in their most recent contest.
South Africa lost their top three with the score not even close to 50 on the board. Such was the run chase- not exactly a fun chase.
It wasn’t anyways going to be easy playing against the team from the island pearl that is Sri Lanka.
And that’s not only down to the fact that the Proteas were up against a whopping 216-run-target set by the mighty competitive side regarded by many as amongst the strongest in the tournament.
In the last (or previous) edition of the T20 World Cup for the Blind, which took place half a decade back in 2017, Sri Lanka had finished third overall.
Looks like a run-of-the-mill achievement?
Think again. Of the 27 sides that competed for cricketing glory, Sri Lanka stood third overall.
Hope that lends some perspective on the power of a side that one could see at New Delhi’s cherubic Siri fort ground playing solidly and as a close-knit unit.
But truth be told, nothing hurt the spirited South African side as badly as centurion Suranga.
Thanks to a brilliant display from the bat; Suranga’s unbeaten 101 guided his side to a position of such undulating authority that it would prove to be a bit too much for the Proteas to handle as one later found out.
But it wasn’t just any other century or some random act of occurrence on the cricket field; the batsman who top scored in the previous edition of the Blind Cricket World Cup was none other than Suranga Sampath.
Won’t be wrong to address the mind-mannered calm-as-the-breeze on top of a mountain cricketer as a bit of a legend in Blind Cricket folklore.
Meanwhile, it’s not that South Africa didn’t try their best; the top score from the Bidla-led side was a useful 47 run knock that came from the middle order.
The team from Madiba-land ran for everything they could scamper for; singles wouldn’t have done it. So there were two and threes and one of the staggering sights being the four runs the lower order duo collected minutes from the end of the run chase.
Such a sight. An inspiring one to say the least.
Surely, not keeping up with the required run rate and eventually ending up on the wrong side of the result hurt South Africa.
But for a team as spirited as them, one that’s armed with much gusto and unshakable talent, of which the Bidla brothers are a clear evidence, expect nothing but a cracker of a contest against Nepal.
And oh, by the way, it begins shortly now at the greeny, charming and akin to a breather of fresh air: Delhi’s Siri Fort ground.