Proteas make World Cup semi-finals

The Proteas at the warm-up. Photo taken from the Citizen.

Chokers who?

In case you missed it, South Africa finally shed their ‘chokers’ mantle this morning, advancing to the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup at long last.

The Proteas are the first team to qualify for the penultimate stage of the competition, after trouncing Sri Lanka and sparking renewed belief the boys in Green and Gold can go all the way.

This is how things went:

Sri Lanka were first in to bat – in terms of the first innings, the only area Sri Lanka might smile at was the two innings of 40 which got them past 100 runs, that of Kumar Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirimanne.

The man with the gloves, Sangakkara played out his final game in continuation of his recent form, although it took 96 balls to reach his total of 45. Thirimanne, on the other hand, was scoring at almost a run a ball.

And that is where the positives end – the Proteas attack proved a step too far for the Lankans, thanks to a hammering pace attack, followed by a cunning spin onslaught from Imran Tahir and JP Duminy.

Duminy’s outstanding performance was rewarded with a hat trick.

At the innings break, South Africa was left with a meagre 133 to beat – it would take only 18 overs for the Proteas to book their place in the next round, after a steady start of 40 runs from opening pair Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock.

Quinny seemed to have found his form again, playing a classy knock of 78 off 57 balls.

On the other end, Amla was out after facing 23 balls, mistiming a cut shot off the resurgent Lasith Malinga to Nuwan Kulasekara in the field.

Next to the crease was Faf du Plessis.

Together with de Kock, who kept the boundaries coming, Faf put on 21 runs as the Proteas glided to a wholesome victory over the Sri Lankans, putting to rest (at least for now) the barrage of ‘choker’ insults from the gallery.

The national elation of doing what could not be done in the past six World Cups, was in stark contrast to the realisation this was the final hurrah for Sri Lankan stalwart, Mahela Jayawardene, as well as for the celebrated Sangakkara.

  AUTHOR
Bruce Douglas
Journalist

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