Hashim Amla smashed his 25th ODI century to help South Africa post a competitive total of 299/6, before Imran Tahir picked up a match-turning four wicket haul to help bowl Sri Lanka out for 203 and set up a comfortable 96-run victory for his side in a Group B encounter of the ICC Champions Trophy on Saturday.

Put into bat first, South Africa set Sri Lanka a target of 300 riding on Amla’s 103-run knock. The effort saw Amla become the fastest batsman to achieve the milestone in ODI cricket. With 25 centuries in 151 innings, Amla edged India’s Virat Kohli who took 162 games to reach the landmark.

Amla has been a man in form, having entered the Champions Trophy with an impressive recent form that saw him hit two hundreds in the IPL before registering two half-century knocks against England ahead of the ongoing tournament.

Thanks to his effort, South Africa managed to notch-up a stiff target for Sri lanka, who struggled to put much of a fight having lost captain Angelo Mathews through injury ahead of the start of the game. Their openers Niroshan Dickwella (41) and Upul Tharanga (57) gave them a sound start, but Dickwella’s dismissal derailed the chase as the top-order departed without, making much of dent.

Tahir was in top form, scalping four wickets as he gave away just 27 runs from 8.3 overs. He even effected a stunning run-out in the latter stages of the game.

A lower-order push by Kusal Perera (44*) did raise hopes of a late resurgence, but South Africa quelled any such fears as South Africa’s bowlers kept the pressure on the tail.

Earlier, Amla played the sheet anchor role for his side as he laid the foundation for a big total. He shared a 145-run stand for the second wicket with Faf du Plessis, who smashed a 70-ball 75. The 34-year-old played monk-like knock that hardly saw him play a mistimed shot. He used his wrists to frustrate Sri Lanka’s bowlers, who struggled to send him back despite decent spells by most.

He faced 115 balls during his knock that saw him score five boundaries and two sixes.

The South Africans began slowly, scoring just 44 in 12 overs. Nuwan Pradeep, though, got Sri Lanka the breakthrough as Quinton De Kock (23) edged one to the keeper.

South Africa were handed a reprieve as du Plessis was dropped on eight by Lasith Malinga off Pradeep, enabling the second-wicket partnership that helped set up the 300-run target.

South Africa could have posted an even bigger target, but their middle-order failed to get going as AB de Villiers (4), David Miller (18) and Chris Morris (20) perished without making a decent impact.

Some lusty blows from JP Duminy (38 off 20) at the fag end of the innings, though, saw them post a tricky target for the Lankans.

Brief scores

  • South Africa 299/6 (Hashim Amla 103, Faf du Plessis 75; Nuwan Pradeep 2/54) beat Sri Lanka 203 (Upul Tharanga 57; Imran Tahir 4/27, Chris Morris 2/32) by 96 runs.