South Africa clinch a spine-tingling victory over Sri Lanka at the Guyana National Stadium in Providence on Wednesday. Chasing a low score of 210, South Africa ended the match in a nail-biting finish to beat the Lankans by one wicket.
South African pacer Charl Langeveldt was the Man of the Match for his five-wicket haul. Though, Lasith Malinga grabbed all the attention as he entered the record books for picking four wickets in successive deliveries.
Earlier, the Lanka batting line-up failed to withstand the South African bowling attack as wickets fell like a house of cards.
South Africa innings
Almost as a ritual, Chaminda Vaas provided the first breakthrough for Sri Lanka when he sent off AB de Villiers in the maiden over.
Skipper Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis built a crucial 94-run stand between them before Muttiah Muralitharan gave his side a much-needed wicket by scalping the former at 59. The spinner scalped two more wickets of Herschelle Gibbs (31) and Mark Boucher (0) back-to-back though missing the chance of a hat trick narrowly. Kumar Sangakkara effectuated the stumping of Justin Kemp (5) off Sanath Jayasuriya's delivery.
In the first delivery of the 47th over, Lasith Malinga became the fifth man in the World Cup history to take a hat trick. He dismissed Shaun Pollock (13) and Andrew Hall (0) in the last two deliveries of the 45th over before packing all rounder Kallis (86) in his next over. His next target was Ntini in the second ball of the over.
At the end of Malinga's penultimate over, South Africa needed just two runs from 18 balls. Vaas came next to deliver a maiden over. Skipper Jayawardene gave the next over to Malinga, hoping to clout victory from the jaws of defeat. But Robin Peterson swept a boundary to end the match in the second delivery of the 49th over.
Sri Lanka innings
Electing to bat, Sri Lanka suffered two major setbacks early in the game. Justin Kemp took a beautiful catch at the first slip off Makhaya Ntini's delivery to dismiss opener Upul Tharanga for 12 runs.
Langeveldt's double strike saw the dismissal of Matara mauler Jayasuriya at 26 runs followed closely by skipper Jayawardene for 12. Soon, Andrew Hall despatched key batsman Sangakkara cheaply. Gibbs displayed agility in grabbing the ball as he dashed into the wickets to effect the run out of Chamara Silva (9).
Dilshan and Arnold worked in unison to steer their side to a modest total. But, Ntini broke the 97-run stand to uproot the former at 58. The last four wickets were dismissed in a flurry. In the 49th over, Langeveldt packed three - Arnold (50), Farveez Maharoof (5) and Vaas (0). A rather lazy effort from Muralitharan saw him get run out in the third ball of the last over to end the Lankan innings.
Brief showers delayed the toss by 10 minutes. It was the first international match to be played at the new stadium, outside the capital Georgetown.
South Africa, needing a win to get their campaign back on track after losing against Australia in St Kitts on Saturday, brought in left-arm spin bowler Robin Peterson in place of batsman Ashwell Prince. Seamer Maharoof returned for Sri Lanka in place of Dilhara Fernando.
Sri Lanka already have two Super Eight points following a win over fellow group qualifiers Bangladesh.
South Africa: Graeme Smith (capt), AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, Herschelle Gibbs, Mark Boucher, Justin Kemp, Shaun Pollock, Robin Peterson, Andrew Hall, Charl Langeveldt, Makhaya Ntini.
Sri Lanka: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Upul Tharanga, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Chamara Silva, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Russel Arnold, Farveez Maharoof, Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralitharan, Lasith Malinga.