South Africa clinch a thrilling win 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. Lasith Malinga entered the record-books picking four wickets in successive balls.
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 next ball of the over. The bowler, thus threw the match to a nail-biting situation.
Earlier, the Lanka batting line-up failed to withstand the South African bowling attack as wickets fell like ninepins.
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.
Charl 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 is 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.
The weather was overcast, hot and humid with a possibility of showers by midday followed by a brighter afternoon.