Dane van Niekerk in action. © WICB

Dane van Niekerk hit 38 of 29 balls and Nadine de Klerk took career-best figures of 3-27 as the Proteas claimed their third consecutive series clean sweep when they beat Sri Lanka by 39 wins in the third and final T20 International at Supersport Park in Centurion on Wednesday.

The latest whitewash comes after The Proteas beat Bangladesh 3-0 in the T20I series and 5-0 in the One Day Internationals (ODI) series during the 2018 Bangladesh Tour to South Africa.

Chamari Atapattu’s 43(36) and Shashikala Siriwardene’s 29 (21) were not enough to stop the home side from clinching the T20I series 3-0.

Dane van Niekerk was named the player of the series while Sune Luus walked away with her second player of the match after scoring 29 (15) and ended with figures of 1/23.

The coin fell in favour of Sri Lanka and they decided to bowl first on a cloudy day. Proteas opening pair, Dane van Niekerk and Tazmin Brits got off to a good start as they put together 58 runs in 7.5 overs for the first wicket partnership.

Brits was the first wicket to fall after she was caught off the sweep shot for a well-played 36 (30). van Niekerk was starting to look dangerous as she hit a six and a four in the 10th over but unfortunately, the Proteas captain got retired hurt on 35*(26) as she was struggling with a stomach bug.

At the halfway mark, the Sri Lankan bowlers were still licking runs, bowling all-over the place as the Proteas reached 79-1 on a good SuperSport batting track.

Marizanne Kapp did not take on to get going when she took over where van Niekerk left off, taking the attack to the visitors bowling unit.  The All-rounder was looking all dangerous, hitting a six before Oshadi Ranasinghe put an end to Kapp’s quick innings of 19 runs in 13 balls sharing a 31-run partnership with the young Lara Goodall at almost a run a ball.

At 116-2 at the end of the 15th over, the Proteas were well set to go hard in the final five overs of their innings. In an attempt to up the run rate, Goodall 35 (30), Luus 26 (15) and van Niekerk 38 (29) all fell in the space of four balls.

But the Proteas still managed to get 47 runs in the last five overs of the innings to post 163-5 in their allocated 20 overs. It was a tough day for Sri Lankans bowlers as Ranasinghe, Inoka Ranaweera, Kaveesha Dilhari and Atapattu all took one wicket apiece.

In pursuit of 164 runs to win, the visitors were off to the worst possible start as they lost Prasadani Weerakkody for a duck in the first over thanks to Kapp (figures) but the captain Atapattu alongside Hasini Perera scored 36 runs between them to take Sri Lanka to 36-1 at the end of the 8th over.

Sri Lanka’s troubles resumed when Nadine de Klerk got her maiden T20 International wicket, removing Perera for 13 (23). At the half-way stage, Sri Lanka were 53-2 requiring another 111 runs from 60 balls to avoid a whitewash.

The Proteas bowling unit kept the pressure on the visitors. Atapattu 43 (36) was very much aware that her side needed to up their run rate of under 6 runs per over but unfortunately, Shabnim Ismail had other ideas as she bowled Atapattu 7 runs short of what would have been a brilliant half-century.

Things only got worse for the visitors as they lost Harshitha Samarawickrema 11 (13) a couple of balls later. With five overs remaining, the visitors needed 74 runs at 14.80 runs per over.

Proteas continued to keep to things tight, built pressure. With the run rate going up each ball, Imalka Mendis 6 (9) and Nilakshi de Silva 0 (1) succumbed to the pressure when they lost their wickets to de Klerk in the 17th.

Sri Lanka’s chances of winning the game where all gone when Shashikala Siriwardene 29 (20) lost her wicket to Masabata Klaas. At the end of the 20th over, The Proteas restricted the visitors to 124-8 to complete a 39-run win.

The two sides will now shift their focus to the three-match ODI series starting on the 11th of February at Senwes Park.