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Proteas women suffer heavy defeat to lose first-ever series against Sri Lanka

The Proteas women had no answers as Chamari Athapaththu and Harshitha Samarawickrama led a run rampage to guide Sri Lanka to a historic four-wicket win in the final T20 at Buffalo Park in East London on Wednesday.

With that victory, Sri Lanka registered their first-ever series triumph against South Africa, claiming a 2-1 victory. It was also Sri Lanka's highest-ever successful run chase.

Chasing a modest 156 to win, Sri Lanka lost the early wicket of opener Vishmi Gunaratne (1), who was caught at cover off the bowling of Nonkululeko Mlaba (1/26).

That might've been the last time the Proteas were in the game because from then on, it was all Sri Lanka.

A majestic 97-run stand between Athapaththu and Harshitha took the game away from a sloppy Proteas outfit. They continued to keep up with the required run rate as they rotated the strike and slapped the odd boundary.

Athapaththu, in particular, was in devastating form, leading from the front as she brought up her ninth T20 fifty.

She smashed a career-best 73 off 46 balls (hitting seven fours and five sixes) before Marizanne Kapp broke the partnership, bowling the Sri Lankan captain.

Harshitha, however, continued where Athapaththu left off and brought up her fifth T20 fifty before ending unbeaten on 54 off 43 balls (hitting four fours and a six).

With Sri Lanka needing only one run for victory, Nadine de Klerk showed some fight as she took back-to-back wickets to end on two for 25. Her efforts weren't enough as Sri Lanka cruised to victory with five balls to spare.

Earlier on, captain Laura Wolvaardt brought up another gritty fifty after the Proteas women were sent to bat first.

Wolvaardt was at the non-striker's end as she watched a horrid Proteas top-order collapse as the hosts