Dear South Africa,
Breathe. The jinx has been broken. Rejoice. You deserve every bit of it.
Who would have thought?
South Africa started as one of the favorites even before the World Cup began, but they were never really immune to the "C" tag. They fumbled, lost their way, and their captain struggled to answer some tough questions. Deep down in our hearts, each of us wanted South Africa to win their first-ever knockout game. But somewhere, the fear was always there. The fear of making it so close, yet so far. And boy! What a way to turn things around. It took South Africa 23 long years to get the knockout monkey off their back, and they did it quite comfortably.
Considering their past records in ICC events, Sri Lanka had the upper hand going into the 1st quarter-final of this World Cup. Unfortunately, they did not turn up at all in this one-sided contest. As much as he would have liked, Kumar Sangakkara couldn’t hold the Lankan batting together in his final appearance, courtesy some quality bowling by the fast bowlers. Neither could Mahela Jayawardene, who has been their key to success.
Sri Lanka’s questionable tactics in a high-pressure game were once again the cause of their downfall. Their clueless batsmen were done in by the Proteas’ spin prowess, ironically. JP Duminy bagged a surprise hat-trick, while Imran Tahir bowled one of his best spells. The pumped up trio of Morkel, Steyn and Abbott kept it tight with probing deliveries until spin took over. South Africa were all over Sri Lanka right from the beginning. Their intent was clear.
It was all too easy for the Proteas who wrapped up one of their smoothest chases in just 18 overs. Despite losing an early wicket of Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock stood like a rock to give his team the much-needed victory. It was South Africa’s day after all. Nothing could come in their way, not even the rain gods.