All smiles – Proteas first team to advance into semi’s

MAN OF THE MOMENT: Imran Tahir was named Man of the Match (4/26). Photo: Grant Down/www.photosport.co.nz

Castle Lager Proteas achieved their most emphatic victory in ICC World Cup history, when they beat Sri Lanka by nine wickets with all of 32 overs to spare in their quarter-final match at The Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday March 18.

It was the Proteas’ first victory in a knock-out World Cup match, and the shortest knock-out match in the history of the World Cup.

The Proteas now play the winners of Saturday’s quarter-final between New Zealand and the West Indies in next Tuesday’s semi-final in Auckland.

In terms of the impact this result will have the only comparable match played by the Proteas at a World Cup. It is their first-ever World Cup match against Australia at the same venue on February 26, 1992, when they routed their hosts, who included the likes of Dean Jones, Allan Border and Steve Waugh, by an identical nine wickets.

What will have pleased the Proteas the most will have been the return to his sublime best of Quinton de Kock (78 not out off 57 balls, 12 fours) as well as the fact they won after losing the toss and having to chase what was admittedly a small target.

There was also the fact that the Proteas were at their very best in all three disciplines of batting, bowling and fielding.

Dale Steyn, Kyle Abbott (who replaced the injured Vernon Philander) and Morne Morkel made the early breakthrough up front. Then the two spinners took over, taking seven wickets between them for 55 runs in 17.2 overs.

Imran Tahir was named Man of the Match (4/26), while JP Duminy’s 3/29 included South Africa’s first-ever World Cup hat trick, the World Cup’s second-ever hat trick, and the second South African hat trick after Charl Langeveldt against the West Indies in 2005.

For good measure it was his career best figures, and also took him past the milestone of 50 international wickets.

Hashim Amla and De Kock then reduced the target of 134 to a routine affair with an opening stand of 40, before De Kock finished the job by timing the ball peerlessly into the gaps, and mixing it with moments of untamed aggression.

It was a sad end to the World Cup careers of two Sri Lankan and world legends – Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.

  AUTHOR
Annette van Schalkwyk
Sports journalist

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