Lasith Malinga's hat-trick-and-a-bit is in vain

How can one so seemingly puny, propel the ball so fast? With masses of effort it can be done, it seems. Lasith Malinga took four wickets in four balls, but Sri Lanka failed to beat South Africa as the Proteas got home with only one wicket to spare.

We still think that Sri Lanka have got a good chance in this World Cup, but they do have some weaknesses. Their most glaring is that their four best batsmen occupy the first four batting slots. This is true of many sides, but it's more true for Sri Lanka. Take four wickets early on and they're stuffed.

That's essentially what happened against South Africa, although Tillekeratne Dilshan and Russel Arnold pulled it back against South Africa's 'spinners'.

Chasing 210, South Africa were what is always described as 'cruising' at 206-5. 'Cruising' sounds so much better when you put it in inverted commas. What are we saying about the South Africans? We're just saying that they were 'cruising'. The South Africans won't mind us saying that, will they? Why would they? They WERE 'cruising'.

Anyway, it was at this point, with South Africa needing just four to win, that Lasith Malinga decided it was time to take a hat trick and then another wicket, the very next ball, just for good measure. Watch a video of Lasith Malinga's four wickets in four balls here.

South Africa were no longer 'cruising', but unfortunately for Sri Lanka and Sri Lankophiles the world over, they couldn't take that final wicket.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

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