Millennium Post

Proteas choke hapless Sri lanka

Proteas choke hapless Sri lanka
JP Duminy took a hat-trick as South Africa bowlers set up a crushing nine-wicket World Cup quarterfinal win over Sri Lanka in Sydney on Wednesday. Sri Lanka, who won the toss, were bowled out for just 133 on a good SCG pitch. After South Africa’s pacemen reduced Sri Lanka to four for two, leg-spinner Imran Tahir (four for 26 in 8.2 overs) and off-spinner Duminy (three for 29 in seven) made sure the Islanders’ innings never got out of first gear.

South Africa, so often labelled World Cup ‘chokers’, completed an emphatic win by finishing on 134 for one with 32 overs to spare.Quinton de Kock, who had managed just 53 runs in six previous innings this World Cup, was 78 not out after hitting the winning boundary, his 12th four, off paceman Lasith Malinga.

Faf du Plessis was unbeaten on 21. Victory meant the Proteas had, after several heartbreaking reverses that started at the SCG with a rain-affected semifinal loss to England in 1992, finally won a knockout match at the World Cup.

They will face the winners of Saturday’s match between New Zealand and the West Indies in an Auckland semifinal on March 24. South Africa’s win meant there was no fairytale farewell for Sri Lanka batting greats Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, for whom this was their last one-day international before retirement.

The pair, key members of the Sri Lanka side that lost the 2007 and 2011 World Cup finals, had been desperate to finish with a flourish. But Sangakkara’s record-breaking run of four successive ODI hundreds finally came to an end although the left-hander, who plans to continue in Test cricket, top-scored with 45. Jayawardene, who has already bowed out of the five-day format, could only manage four on Wednesday. Sangakkara and fellow left-hander Lahiru Thirimanne (41) put on 65 for the third wicketBut otherwise there was little batting resistance on a good pitch, with Sri Lanka, the 1996 World Cup winners, losing four wickets for two runs in nine balls as they slumped to 116 for eight.

SA bowlers, often overshadowed in ODI cricket by their more celebrated batsmen, dominated Sri Lanka from the start. Kusal Perera, promoted to open the innings, fell for three when he edged Kyle Abbott and was brilliantly caught left-handed, at the second attempt, by de Kock as the wicket-keeper dived in front of first slip. Tillakaratne Dilshan was then out for a seven-ball duck, edging fast bowler Dale Steyn low to du Plessis at second slip.

Thirimanne exited when he chipped an easy return catch to Tahir who struck again soon to dismiss Jayawardene, caught at short mid-wicket. There was no recovery, with Duminy dismissing Mathews  before he completed a hat-trick by taking wickets off successive deliveries in the beginning of his next over.
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