Well it was the same Sri Lanka way back in 2003 that spoilt all hopes of South Africa making it to the second round of the ICC World Cup in South Africa. There it was Marvan Atapattu who blasted 124 that was aided with 18 hits to the fence off 129 balls, that was well supported by Aravinda De Silva who added another 73 runs, that too aided with the help of 6 fours and 2 huge sixes. That match was a real nerve tester for the Proteas after their initial loss at the hands of West Indies and New Zealand. South Africa were just 1 run short of the victory target which was 230 and a wrong signal from the dressing room ended up in such debacle.
Otherwise, there was good work done in by Herschelle Gibbs who scored 73 (88 balls) and an unbeaten 45 from Mark Boucher. I guess, from then onwards, the South African team, in addition to 15 players, a coach and a manager would have included an abacus or a calculator to avoid such disasters. That was also a rain hit match like yesterday's which imposed a Duckworth Lewis total of 262 runs from 37.2 overs. Not a bad target or an unachievable one for South Africa but, Sri Lanka was too strong for the Proteas to overcome. Sri Lanka's efforts shouldn't go unrewarded?
One has to indeed pity the South African captain Greame Smith who along with ace batsman Jacques Kallis put up a strong foundation for the South African chase. As the Duckworth Lewis method always does, this time as well the run rate shot up from the previous one at 6.4 to just below 7 runs an over for South Africa. And what better can South Africa do with no recognized batsmen in the side to lead the batting? More than pointing fingers towards South Africa, one has to really appreciate Sri Lanka for outplaying South Africa in all departments of the game.
This was the first ime that Sri Lanka beat South Africa in an ICC Champions Trophy. Sri Lanka had lost to South Africa in the inaugural edition of the ICC Champions Trophy in a league stage match which in that tournament was a knock out one, meaning a team that loses its first match will have to wind up from the tournament which is not the case in these days. Sri Lanka lost their match to the proteas under Hansie Cronje when they were all out for 198. South Africa went on to win the series. Then in 2006, Sri Lanka yet again lost to South Africa in the league stages of the tournament held at India.