2015 ICC World Cup Quarter Final- South Africa v Sri Lanka: When the Nightmare Meets the Fairy-tale

ICC Cricket World Cup

Quarter Final

South Africa v Sri Lanka

Sydney Cricket Ground

18th March 2015

When the Nightmare Meets the Fairy-tale

There’s so much going on in anticipation of what is possibly the toughest quarter final to tip.  There’s the alliteration nightmare for anyone with a lisp “Sri Lanka and South Africa at Sydney.”  For South Africa, their World Cup demon was born right here at Moore Park.

The 1992 World Cup draw was settled.  Flights, accommodation, broadcast facilities were all booked nearly 2 years ahead of the event.  In the meantime Nelson Mandela was released from prison and a timetable for universal suffrage elections in the Republic had been announced.

South Africa was once a true power of cricket.  Their inclusion would provide one of the most anticipated moments in the tournament’s history.  After months of negotiation a new schedule was released expanding the World Cup from 8 to 9 teams only 4 weeks before the tournament started.

Sydney hosted their first match.  These unknowns kept the defending champions to 170 and chased down the runs with 8 wickets to spare.  They finished the round robin in third place, earning them a semi-final against England at this grand old ground.  The farcical scenes of the re-calculation of the target score after a late rain delay is now a matter of folklore and each subsequent World Cup has added to the misery.

Finishing 2nd in pool B, they’re in good form.  AB deVilliers’ innings on this ground against West Indies is one of the most sublime demonstrations of batting ever seen here.

In the other dressing room is Sri Lanka, who have played every World Cup.  In the space of 21 years they went from being the Associate qualifier to World Champions.  They have played the last two Finals, a World Cup record to be proud of.  Their fate tonight rests on the shoulders of one of the modern masters, Kumar Sangakkara.

It’s not a big crowd at the start but there is a loud cheer when Angelo Mathews wins the toss and announces they will bat first.  There is the threat of rain about.

Sri Lanka’s openers go quickly and they are 2 for 4.  A 65 run 3rd wicket partnership was the only highlight of the innings they go from 4 for 114 to 8 for 116 with JP Duminy getting a hat trick.  When the rain comes Sri Lanka are 9 for 127 with Sangakkara having watched everyone around him fall, had little choice but to start chasing runs and is caught on the boundary for 45.

After the rain delay the number 10 and 11 provides short entertainment with some slogging, poor running between wickets and then giving up the last wicket only 8 balls after the delay.  Sri Lanka are all out in the 38th over for a disastrous 133.

South Africa will start their innings before the dinner break.  Amla and deKock are rattling off the runs at a healthy rate.  Amla falls to a great catch at third man in front of the Members Stand and that brings on the dinner break, South Africa 1 for 40 after only 6.2 overs.

There is a sense of inevitability that South Africa should cruise to the target after the feed.  Malinga is just doesn’t seem to be as dangerous as he used to be and the others haven’t stood out during the tournament.

New Sri Lankan spinner Kaushal has clearly grown up wanting to be the next Muralitheran.  Still can’t tell whether he’s an off spinner or a leggie.  Chameera has some genuine speed about him and will be a spearhead of the attack in the near future.

It only took 18 overs and Quinton deKock drives the winning runs into the boundary below the Members Stand.

Sangakkara and Jayawardana are shown the respect they have earnt with each member of their opponent making an effort to shake their hands and a great applause from the modest crowd.  Their career achievements deserved a better exit than this.

The Proteas now have now won their first knock out stage World Cup match and now travel to the New Zealand Capital, where either the Black Caps or West Indies will join them in the Semi Final.

About Wayne Ball

Tragic fan of the Australian and NSW cricket teams (for those of you outside NSW, there is a difference, despite what David Hookes said). Not a fan of T20. Penrith Panthers are the only club of decency and all which is good in Rugby League, the Waratah's were once the national team of Rugby Union, the first non Victorian team in the VFL/AFL is the Sydney Swans, and they all enjoy my passionate support. Sings for Wanderers. Internationally, I have been to see the Oakland Athletics and Green Bay Packers play. One day, I'll see Norwich City play for the FA Cup at Wembley.


  1. Mark Duffett says

    Nice colour for all of us Fox-less people out here. Thanks Wayne.

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