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Proteas Send Sri Lanka Back to Home; Inflict 9-Wicket Defeat on Angelo Mathews’ Men

icc cup newNew Delhi, Thursday, March 19 – First quarter-final between South Africa and Sri Lanka turned nightmare for the former. Despite winning the toss, Sri Lanka were on the back foot right from the first over. Angelo Mathews elected to bat first but none thought this decision is going to hit final nail in the coffin for Sri Lanka.

South African, a team which is considered a combination of players who fail to put best foot forward in important matches, were in terrific form today. The opener Kusal Perera was the first to feel the real pressure.  Disciplined bowling attack by South African bowlers and fielders imparted huge role in restricting the rivals right from the beginning. An outstanding catch by Quinton de Kock made the left-handed batsman depart at the score of 3.

Tillakaratne Dilshan, whose records are adequate enough to tell what potential he holds as a cricketer, was out for a duck. The wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara wasn’t left with any option other than to see him going back to the pavilion. Dale Steyn’s reaction post Dilshan’s dismissal signaled the men in green are in no mood to let go such a massive opportunity without utilizing it. Lahiru Thirimanne was the new man on the batting end and tried to bring some stability. The pace of scoring runs increased a little bit. He hit 5 classy boundaries in his 41-run knock. Before the 25-year-old Thirimanne would have gone for further, Imran Tahir brought his play to an end.

His departure made Mahela Jayawardene to arrive on the crease and do his bit but he completely fell short of everyone’s expectations. Tahir’s beautiful delivery and wonderful catch by Faf du Plessis compelled him go back into the dressing room post pocketing 4 runs in 16 balls. Captain Mathews couldn’t lend a hand to his team to proceed further and threw his wicket to JP Duminy, who became the first South African cricketer to get hat-trick in World Cup tournament by taking crucial wickets of Nuwan Kulasekara (1 run) and Tharindu Kaushal (0 run) in 35th over.

Thisara Perera was another batsman to depart at a zero. Hope almost died for Sri Lanka when Sangakkara threw his wicket to Morne Morkel. The player who attained 4 tons in cricket carnival 2015 faced difficulty to place the ball. He scored 45 runs of 96 balls, including 3 boundaries. Lasith Malinga and Dushmantha Chameera were the last pair on the 22 yards pitch. However, they couldn’t accumulate anything significant in squad’s total. Wrong selection of shot by Malinga made Sri Lanka set a target of just 134 runs for South Africa to chase. Chameera remained not out at 2 runs. The key cause behind collapse of top to middle order batsmen is perhaps not realizing the actual conditions. The entire team was out in 37.2 overs.

Hashim Amla and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, who was not in form prior to this match, kicked off South African innings. Despite the fact that Lasith Malinga gave an early breakthrough to his group, letting Amla to depart at 16 runs (4 x 1), Sri Lanka couldn’t bounce back in the game. This time, de Kock proved his captain’s faith absolutely correct and exhibited an amazing play of 78 runs in 57 balls. His innings comprised 12 boundaries, dousing all hopes for the contending party. Faf du Plessis also remained unbeaten at 21 runs along with 22-year-old de Kock. Sri Lanka usually never give up in bigger contest but in the first competition of the top 8, they didn’t succeed to understand the mood of South African deliveries. They entered in 2011 World Cup finals and ended their journey at the second spot. Now, Sri Lankan supporters would have to wait for another 4 years to see their team qualifying to another round. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that this was probably the last time for many senior cricketers to perform on such a big stage.

South African cricketers were on cloud nine post booking a berth in semi-finals after achieving the target in 18 overs, losing only a wicket. An interesting game is in progress between India and Bangladesh at Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne. ‘Captain Cool’ Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and opted to bat first. India have put 26 runs on the scoreboard after 5 overs. Rohit Sharma is batting at 16 and Shikhar Dhawan at 5. With no change in the team, India are looking forward to thrash Bangladesh, who have qualified for the first time in WC quarterfinals.

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