Thu, Mar 19, 2015 - Page 20 News List

No choking as South Africa reach World Cup semis

AFP, SYDNEY

South Africa’s Jean-Paul Duminy, left, celebrates with teammate Rilee Rossouw after he dismissed Sri Lanka’s Tharindu Kaushal for a duck during their Cricket World Cup quarter-final match at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

South Africa stormed into the Cricket World Cup semi-finals yesterday with a nine-wicket rout of Sri Lanka that brought the curtain down on the one-day international (ODI) careers of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.

Off-spinner JP Duminy (3-29) took a hat-trick and leg-spinner Imran Tahir claimed 4-26 as South Africa, who had never before won a World Cup knockout match, set up a clash against either New Zealand or West Indies for a place in the March 29 final.

Chasing just 134 to win, the Proteas reached their target in the 18th over, with opener Quinton de Kock making an undefeated 78.

Sangakkara, in his last one-day international appearance, top-scored for Sri Lanka with 45 as his record-breaking run of four successive ODI hundreds came to an end. Together with Lahiru Thirimanne (41) he put on 65 for the third wicket.

Fellow veteran Jayawardene, who now quits all international cricket, made only four before he became one of Tahir’s victims as 1996 champions Sri Lanka lost their last six wickets for just 19 runs.

South Africa skipper A.B. de Villiers, who lost the toss, said he feels his team can now go on and win an elusive first World Cup.

“I’m quietly confident. I’m always a positive kind of guy — I always believe in big things,” he said.

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews admitted his team suffered severe stage fright.

“A score of 130 was not much. There were no demons on this track, but we didn’t bat well. Maybe it was nerves, we didn’t go for our shots and it’s easily our worst performance we have done in the World Cup and it happened to be in the quarter-final,” he said.

Duminy said he was shocked to have become the first South African to take a World Cup hat-trick.

“I’ve never got close to a hat-trick so I’m pretty pleased with that performance. It was mainly about keeping the runs down,” said Duminy, who dismissed Mathews and then, at the start of his next over, got rid of Kulasekara and Tharindu Kaushal LBW for a golden duck on his one-day debut.

After Kyle Abbott and Dale Steyn sent back openers Kusal Perera and Tillakaratne Dilshan, it was the turn of Pakistan-born spinner Tahir to strike, dismissing Thirimanne and Jayawardene.

Man-of-the-match Tahir also got rid of Thisara Perera (0) before wrapping up proceedings with the wicket of Lasith Malinga.

Meanwhile, the build-up continues to the other quarter-finals.

Bangladesh insist they will have nothing to fear from defending champions India when they face off in front of about 90,000 fans at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground today.

However, the odds are stacked against them, as Bangladesh have beaten their illustrious neighbors just three times in 28 meetings.

“Tomorrow will be a high-scoring match on a flat pitch. We have to bowl well,” skipper Mushrafe Mortaza said.

Tomorrow sees four-time champions Australia face 1992 winners Pakistan, who suffered a major setback on Tuesday when giant fast bowler Mohammad Irfan was ruled out of the rest of the World Cup with a stress fracture of the pelvis.

Australia have called in former World Cup winning skipper Steve Waugh to give pep talks to the squad.

“It was good to sit down over dinner with him and just chat about cricket and World Cups,” opening batsman Aaron Finch said. “He’s obviously captained a winning one and played in another one as well. There are not many better-credentialed players to talk to about it.”

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