2:27 am - Thursday November 5, 2015

ICC Cricket World Cup: South Africa crush listless Sri Lanka by 9 wickets to enter semis

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Leg-spinner Tahir (4-26) looked like a man possessed while Duminy (3-29) bagged the second hat-trick of this edition — after England’s Steven Finn — as South Africa sent the Lankans packing for 133 in 37.2 overs in the first quarter-final of this edition.

South Africa, who are keen to shrug off their chokers tag, then came out to complete the batting job in 18 overs and register their first-ever knockout win in the 50-over showpiece event.

Quinton de Kock (78 not out) and Faf de Plessis (21 not out) stitched an unbeaten 94-run partnership to get the target without breaking a sweat. Hashim Amla (16) was the only casualty in an otherwise spotless innings.

But the day surely belonged to the spinning duo of Tahir and Duminy as they wrecked havoc over what was considered a strong Sri Lankan batting unit.

Electing to bat at the SCG, Sri lanka lost the plot from the very start after the Proteas pace attack dismissed the openers in double quick time to leave the islanders reeling at 4 for two.

But tweakers was introduced into the attack in the 14th over with Duminy getting the ball ahead of Tahir and the two spun a web around the Lankan batsmen.Lahiru Thirimanne (41) shared a 65-run third wicket stand with the now retired Kumar Sangakkara (45), the veteran left-hander had decided to quit ODIs after the World Cup, to bring some stability to the Lankan innings but the Proteas spinners were relentless.

Tahir kept chipping in and off-spinner Duminy also joined forces after getting the dangerous Angelo Mathews out for 19.

Duminy got Mathews out off the final delivery of his eighth over and much to everybody’s surprise got two more scalps at the start of his ninth over to complete his first-hat-trick in ODIs, which was also a World Cup first for a Proteas bowler.

The batting bit seemed like a formality for the AB de Villiers-led side as they started the innings much before the scheduled break time. Breaking for dinner at 40 for 1, South Africa galloped to their target.

South Africa now await the winner of the New Zealand-West Indies last-eight clash, which is slated for Saturday in Wellington.

Sri lanka lost the plot from the very start after the Proteas pace attack dismissed the openers in double quick time to leave the islanders reeling at 4 for two.

Kyle Abbott got Kusal Perera (3) caught behind and then Dale Steyn sent the in-form Tilakaratne Dilshan packing for a nought.

But it was man-of-the-match Tahir who started the rot with a caught and bowled effort to send Lahiru Thirimanne (41) back in the pavilion after a hard-working knock.

Duminy after getting the wicket of Mathews on the final delivery of the 34th over got Kulasekara (1) caught behind and then trapped debutant Tharindu Kaushal plumb in front of the wicket at the start of the 35th over as the South African crowd went berserk at the MCG.

Sangakkara, who came into the match with record four consecutive ODI hundreds, was a mute spectator at the non-striker’s end to this abject surrender. The veteran left-hander, to his credit, tried to get some runs in the Lankan bag.

Sangakkara finally went to Morne Morkel, who had bowled well throughout and finally got the reward.

Rain did put a stop to all the madness after the ninth Lankan wicket fell but South Africa wasted no time in picking up the last scalp in Lasith Malinga when play resumed.

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