Exactly 11 years ago, during the 26th match of the ICC Cricket World Cup between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Province Stadium, Guyana, Lasith Malinga became the first bowler to pick up four wickets in four balls in international cricket. However, even his remarkable efforts could not help Sri Lanka to stop South Africa from crossing the victory line.
Mahela Jayawardene, the then Sri Lankan captain, had won the toss and opted to bat. Despite losing their first five wickets for 98 runs, Sri Lanka somehow managed to score 209-10 in 49.3 overs. It was made possible due to half-centuries from Tillakaratne Dilshan (58) and Russell Arnold (50). With bowling figures of 10-1-39-5, Charles Langelveldt was the pick of the South African bowlers.
After dismissing AB de Villiers (0) in the first over of the South African innings, Chaminda Vaas had made early inroads. But Sri Lanka had to wait for the next wicket for 94 runs. It only happened when Muttiah Muralitharan beat Graeme Smith (59) in the flight to stump him in the 18th over.
At the halfway mark, South Africa had scored 134-2. Needing 76 runs from the next 25 overs, South Africa had the upper hand in the match. Sri Lanka was provided with some respite in the 33rd over when Muralitharan dismissed Herschelle Gibbs (31) and Mark Boucher (0). The equation dropped down South Africa requiring 10 runs in six overs with five wickets in hand.
On the penultimate delivery of the 45th over, Malinga’s slower ball got the better of Shaun Pollock (13). When Malinga dismissed Andrew Hall (0) on the following delivery, there were some sure signs of nerves as all of a sudden, Sri Lanka had made a comeback in the match. Giving away a lone run in the next over, Vaas bowled to the likes of his captain.
In a game-changing turn of events, Malinga registered the first of his three ODI hat-tricks as he got the wicket of Jacques Kallis (86) on the first ball of his next over. As if the hat-trick did not satisfy him, he bowled Makhaya Ntini (0) on the following delivery to claim four wickets in four consecutive balls.
With only one wicket in hand, South Africa needed two runs in 22 balls from this point. It was Robin Peterson, who eventually scored a boundary off Malinga in the penultimate over to seal the chase for the Proteas.
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