Sydney, March 18:
South Africa became the first country to reach the semi final of the ICC World Cup 2015 beating Sri Lanka by nine wickets here today.
Though Hashim Amla (16) fell early with the score, the Proteas cruised to the modest target of 134 without much fuss in just 18 overs as wicket keeping openere Quinton de Kock (78) and Faf du Plessis (21) saw the team through.
It was a welcome return to form for de Kock, who has been struggling since the beginning of the tournament, ahead of the crucial semi final clash.
Earlier, spinners Imran Tahir (4-26) and Jean-Paul Duminy (3-29) starred for South Africa as they bowled out Sri Lanka for 133 runs in 37.2 overs in the first cricket World Cup quarterfinal at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) here on Wednesday.
South Africa exerted pressure on the Sri Lankans quite early. Right-arm pacers Kyle Abbot and Dale Steyn removed openers Kusal Perera (3) and seasoned Tilakaratne Dilshan (0) respectively to leave Sri Lanka in trouble at 4/2 in the fifth over.
Veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara, even though he didn’t bat with the elegance and style his is known for, scored a 96-ball 45. Sangakkara, who scored four centuries in the previous four matches, took 16 deliveries to get off the mark.
That speaks volumes of the tight line and length maintained by the South African bowlers. Sangakkara, who will quit One-Day International (ODI) cricket after this World Cup, forged a 65-run partnership with Lahiru Thirimanne (41).
Young left-handed batsman Thirimanne looked in fine form, hitting five fours to score 41 in 48 bals.
The right-arm spinner started his show by breaking the partnership as he dismissed Thirimanne. Another veteran, Mahela Jayawardene (4), playing in his final international tournament, also fell to Tahir.
Skipper Angelo Mathews became the first victim of Duminy’s hat-trick. Off-spinner Duminy dimissed Mathews (19) in the final delivery of the 32nd over. In his first two deliveries of his next over, Nuwan Kulasekara (1) and Tharindhu Kaushal (2).
Duminy became the second in the tournament and the eighth bowler to claim a hat-trick in World Cup history.
Meanwhile, Morne Morkel removed Sangakkara, while Tahir bagged the wickets of young all-rounder Thisara Perera (0) and Lasith Malinga (3).
Brief scores: Sri Lanka 133 all out in 37.2 overs (Kumar Sangakkara 45, Imran Tahir 4-26, Jean-Paul Duminy 3-29) vs South Africa.