Don’t run on a misfield is a cliche that is often used in cricket. But when the fielder concerned is AB de Villiers, you certainly need to be vary. Sri Lanka weren’t and they paid the price, or in particular, Dinesh Chandimal, who was sent back home after a piece of brilliance from the South African captain in the field during the opening game of Group B between South Africa and Sri Lanka.
That wasn’t even the first time this had happened in this game. Although he didn’t contribute with the bat, the Proteas captain made sure that he made the difference in the field. First it was a stunning catch to dismiss Kusal Mendis. Fielding at mid-wicket, AB just went straight up in the air and plucked the ball out of thin air and made a difficult chance look surprisingly easy.
His next effort of superhuman fielding came with an off-balance throw after he had misfielded the ball at cover. With a direct hit, the 33-year-old threw down the stumps and sent Chandimal packing in the 18th over of the Sri Lanka innings.
It all happened off the second ball off Imran Tahir’s first over of the game. Dinesh Chandimal struck the ball firmly towards cover where AB misfielded the ball and as it went away from the fielder, Chandimal set off for a run that was never there.
But AB de Viliers quickly anticipated that and dived to collect the ball and in one sweeping motion quickly picked it up and threw down the stumps. Chandimal, clearly didn’t anticipate that piece of extraordinary fielding as he was a foot short of his crease.
Here is how it all happened:
From then onwards, it was all downhill for Sri Lanka as they lost the plot. Two wickets in Imran Tahir’s first over (the run out and a golden duck for Chamara Kapugedera) and wickets at crucial intervals set them back in their chase of 300.