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Nortje takes 4-7 as South Africa beat Sri Lanka in T20 World Cup

<a class="link " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/south-africa-women/" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:South Africa;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">South Africa</a> bowled out Sri Lanka for 77 (TIMOTHY A. CLARY)
South Africa bowled out Sri Lanka for 77 (TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

South Africa's Anrich Nortje took a remarkable four wickets for just seven runs as the Proteas dismissed Sri Lanka for a record low 77 on their way to a six-wicket win in the teams' T20 World Cup opener in New York on Monday.

Sri Lanka's total was their lowest in all T20 cricket, with fast bowler Nortje's figures the best by a South African at a T20 World Cup, surpassing his own 4-10 against Bangladesh in Sydney two years ago.

"It's been a while since I've had those figures," said Nortje, the player of the match, at 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 rumours about being up and down," the 30-year-old added.

Kagiso Rabada (2-21) and left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, who took two wickets in two balls on his way to 2-22, also damaged the cause of 2014 champions Sri Lanka.

Opener Kusal Mendis (19) and veteran all-rounder Angelo Mathews (16) were the only Sri Lanka batsmen to pass 15 after their captain, Wanindu Hasaranga, seemingly misread conditions by opting to bat first upon winning the toss.

South Africa, however, also lost early wickets as their top order also struggled to time the ball on a drop-in pitch that is the cornerstone of a Long Island ground built specially for the tournament.

But the big-hitting Heinrich Klaasen struck a six and a four off successive deliveries on his way to 19 not out as South Africa finished on 80-4 with 26 balls to spare.

The difficulty both sides had in scoring runs raised fears the showpiece match between arch-rivals India and Pakistan -- due to be played at the ground on June 9 -- could become a lottery.

- 'Find ways to score on this ' -

South Africa captain Aiden Markram, whose side have two more games at the ground, said: "Credit for what we did in the field but the batting was a bit up and down.

"It was quite a tough wicket... We're fortunate that we have our next two here and have a decent idea of how it's going to play but it's important to assess as you move around and come up with plans."

Leg-spinner Hasaranga took 2-22 but in truth he had too few runs to play with following a Sri Lanka innings where he was one of four ducks.

"We were hoping for 160-170 but now we know it was more of a 120-130 wicket, especially with our bowlers," said Hasaranga. "We wanted to perform a lot better."

South Africa fast bowler Ottneil Baartman, making his World Cup debut, sparked Sri Lanka's collapse when, with his first ball, he had Pathum Nissanka caught in the deep before Nortje dismissed Kamindu Mendis in similar fashion.

Maharaj then struck twice in the ninth over as both Hasaranga, stumped by De Kock and Sadeera Samarawickrama, clean bowled by a quicker delivery, fell for nought to leave Sri Lanka 32-4 before Charith Asalanka survived the hat-trick.

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