Shamik Das

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sideshow Mal to the four as Boks Klown it up

"I'm Sideshow Mal, not Sideshow Mel"    "Soon I will bowl to you"

Guyana, World Cup, Super Eights: South Africa 212/9
(48.2 overs) beat Sri Lanka 209 (49.3 overs) by one wicket

Lasith Malinga took four wickets in four balls as Sri Lanka narrowly failed to pull off one of the greatest comebacks in the history of sport against South Africa last night.

Malinga's four card trick - the first such occurence in international cricket - came late in the South African innings, and very nearly resulted in one of the most unlikely victories ever seen.

In a spooky display of symmetry Malinga's first victim was Shaun Pollock - who took four wickets in as many balls for Warwickshire against Leicestershire in the Benson and Hedges Cup eleven years ago - yorked by the slower ball for 13, followed up by Andrew Hall first ball, spooning an easy catch to Upul Tharanga at cover, ...

... then at the start of his next over Malinga enticed Jacques Kallis into nicking a ball through to Kumar Sangakkara for 86 for his hat-trick before clean bowling Makhaya Ntini with another screaming yorker for a golden duck to turn the game on its head, leaving South Africa three runs short of victory with just one wicket in hand.

Eventually the Proteas came good, snatching the win with just ten balls to spare.

Together with Kallis Graeme Smith (59) and Herschelle Gibbs (31) had laid the foundations for an easy win, reducing the target to four runs required from 32 balls with five wickets remaining before Malinga rewrote the record books.

Earlier the Lankans found themselves restricted to 209 all out, with only Tillakaratne Dilshan (58) and Russel Arnold (50) troubling the opposition.

Herschelle Gibbs runs out Chamara Silva under the watchful eyes of Mark Boucher

Herschelle Gibbs dives full length à la Jonty Rhodes to run out Chamara Silva

But the highlight of the first innings was Herschelle Gibbs's run out of Chamara Silva in a move reminiscent of Jonty Rhodes, the greatest fielder of his generation.

Meanwhile in Antigua the West Indies suffered a 103 run defeat at the hands of Australia in the rain delayed Super Eights opener.

Despite half-centuries from captain Brian Lara (77 runs off 83 balls) and keeper Denesh Ramdin (52 off 43) the hosts never really recovered from a terrible start which saw them slump to 20 for 3 off the first ten overs.

Marlon Samuels skies a catch to Andrew Symonds as West Indies lose their way    A delighted Brad Hogg traps Dwayne Smith leg before as the world champions close in on victory

Chris Gayle (2), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (5) and Marlon Samuels (4) all fell cheaply - Gayle and Samuels contributing to their own dismissals with a couple of dreadful shots - balls skied high into the air and caught with ease by Shane Watson and Andrew Symonds respectively.

Brad Hogg (3-56), Glen McGrath (3-31) and Shaun Tait (2-43) were the main wicket takers for the holders.


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