South Africa produced a near perfect game in the first quarter final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 against Sri Lanka; hammering their opponents by 9 wickets at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday. The Proteas became the first team to advance to semi-finals, riding on the individual brilliant performances of JP Duminy, Imran Tahir and Quinton de Kock. They restricted the Lions to 133 runs and then went on to score the necessary runs in 18 overs to progress into the last four stage for the fourth time in their history. Imran Tahir was adjudged the Man of of the Match for his 4-26 spell that left Lankan side spinning.
South Africa lost the toss but Proteas skipper AB De Villiers insisted that his team face a must win situation against all odds. They started off brightly with Kyle Abbott and Dale Steyn dismissing Kusal Perera and Tillakaratne Dilshan respectively early in the game. Lahiru Thirimanne and Kumar Sangakkara chipped in a partnership of 65 runs; the highest of the innings. Imran Tahir picked up the first of his four wickets by dismissing the former for 41. Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews played silly shots giving a catch to Faf du Plessis thus triggering the collapse.
Nuwan Kulasekara and Tharindu Kaushal followed suit in back to back deliveries making JP Duminy the first South African hat-trick taker at the World Cup. The 30-year-old had dismissed the Lankan skipper at the end of the 33rd over and followed it up by dismissing the bowlers. Sangakkara appeared to have found the spark but that was diminished with the rain and Morne Morkel. The 37-year-old went to cut towards third man and David Miller raced in from deep to take the catch.
The play was halted for a brief period due to sudden downpour but as it resumed Tahir wrapped up the innings by picking up his fourth of the day with David Miller taking his second catch of the innings. Hashim Amla and De Kock started off on a decent note but the former was dismissed by Lasith Malinga courtesy of a brilliant catch by Nuwan Kulasekara. Since then on, it was all the 31-year-old’s fellow opener took onus on his shoulders scoring a half-century as Faf du Plessis was a part spectator scoring 21.
The victory marks great significance for South Africa as it’s the first time they managed to register a victory in the knockout stages of the World Cup. They will now face the winner between New Zealand and West Indies in the semi-final.
South Africa Fall of Wickets (Watch video dismissal): 40/1 (Hashim Amla, 6.4 overs).
Sri Lanka Fall of wickets (Watch video dismissal): 3/1 (Kusal Perera, 1.4 overs), 4/2 (Tillakaratne Dilshan, 4.1 overs), 69/3 (Lahiru Thirimanne 19.1 overs), 81/4 (Mahela Jayawardene, 23.1 overs), 114/5 (Angelo Mathews, 33 overs), 115/6 (Thisara Perera, 33.4 overs), 116/7 (Nuwan Kulasekara, 34.1 overs), 116/8(Tharindu Kaushal, 34.2 overs), 127/9 (Kumar Sangakkara, 36.2 overs) and 133/10 (Lasith Malinga, 37.2 overs).