ICC World Cup: South Africa knock out Sri Lanka to enter semis

Sydney: Spinners Imran Tahir and hat-trick man Jean-Paul Duminy shared seven wickets between them to help a clinical South Africa outplay an unusually hapless Sri Lanka by 9 wickets and enter the cricket World Cup semi-finals, here today.

Leg-spinner Tahir (4-26) looked like a man possessed while Duminy (3-29) bagged the second hat-trick of this edition -- after England's Steven Finn -- as South Africa sent the Lankans packing for 133 in 37.2 overs in the first quarter-final of this edition.

Imran Tahir
Imran Tahir (L) celebrates a wicket. Pic/ AFP

South Africa, who are keen to shrug off their chokers tag, then came out to complete the batting job in 18 overs and register their first-ever knockout win in the 50-over showpiece event. Quinton de Kock (78 not out) and Faf de Plessis (21 not out) stitched an unbeaten 94-run partnership to get the target without breaking a sweat. Hashim Amla (16) was the only casualty in an otherwise spotless innings.

But the day surely belonged to the spinning duo of Tahir and Duminy as they wrecked havoc over what was considered a strong Sri Lankan batting unit. Electing to bat at the SCG, Sri lanka lost the plot from the very start after the Proteas pace attack dismissed the openers in double quick time to leave the islanders reeling at 4 for two.

But tweakers was introduced into the attack in the 14th over with Duminy getting the ball ahead of Tahir and the two spun a web around the Lankan batsmen. Lahiru Thirimanne (41) shared a 65-run third wicket stand with the now retired Kumar Sangakkara (45), the veteran left-hander had decided to quit ODIs after the World Cup, to bring some stability to the Lankan innings but the Proteas spinners were relentless.

Tahir kept chipping in and off-spinner Duminy also joined forces after getting the dangerous Angelo Mathews out for 19. Duminy got Mathews out off the final delivery of his eighth over and much to everybody's surprise got two more scalps at the start of his ninth over to complete his first-hat-trick in ODIs, which was also a World Cup first for a Proteas bowler.

The batting bit seemed like a formality for the AB de Villiers-led side as they started the innings much before the scheduled break time. Breaking for dinner at 40 for 1, South Africa galloped to their target.

South Africa now await the winner of the New Zealand-West Indies last-eight clash, which is slated for Saturday in Wellington.

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