Hambantota: A superb 74 from Tilakratne Dilshan coupled with cameos from Mahela Jayawardene and Thissara Perera powered Sri Lanka won the final Twenty20 international against South Africa by six wickets in Hambantota on Tuesday to retain their number one ranking in the shortest format.
A comfortable win for Sri Lanka in the end. With the series lost, they came out firing and put the South African players under huge pressure. Dilshan led from the front and it was apt that he finished things off and Jayawardene before him, simply batted them out of today's contest with a wonderful display of hitting all over the wicket.
The South Africans will still be pleased with their performance over the last week, and can take heart from it after being drubbed 4-1 in the ODI series before
Tsotsobe, Morkel and Parnell were all over the park, while Tahir and Wise bowled strong spells which helped the South Africans back into the contest, when it seemed only a matter of which over the Sri Lankans would finish off the game.
Earlier, Skipper Faf du Plessis hit 85 off 65 balls as South Africa piled up a commanding 163-3.
Du Plessis, who won the toss for the third time in a row and elected to bat, smashed 10 boundaries and three sixes during a third-wicket stand of 112 with JP Duminy.
Left-handed Duminy remained unbeaten on a 34-ball 51 that contained three fours and two sixes as South Africa put on a thrilling exhibition of power hitting in the day-night match.
Du Plessis and Duminy put on their century stand after opener Henry Davids had been dismissed off the first ball of the match, leg-before to seamer Nuwan Kulasekara.
Quinton de Kock helped his captain carry the total to 45-1 in the eighth over, before he was leg-before off Ajantha Mendis' second delivery.
Duminy hit his 100th six in Twenty20 internationals when he lofted Kulasekara over the mid-wicket fence in the 17th over.
Du Plessis was dismissed in the final over, bowled by Lakmal.
Earlier, Sri Lanka made two changes, resting senior batsman Kumar Sangakkara and fast bowler Lasith Malinga. Tillakaratne Dilshan and Suranga Lakmal took their places.
Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (captain), Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Sachithra Senananyake, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Ajantha Mendis.
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (captain), Quinton de Kock, Henry Davids, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, David Miller, David Wiese, Wayne Parnell, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
South Africa 163/3 (Plessis 85, Duminy 51*)
Sri Lanka 164/4 (Dilshan 74*, Jayawardene 33)
Result Sri Lanka won by 6 wickets
MOM Tilakratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka)
Player of the series JP Duminy (South Africa)