Bizarre Cricket World Cup scenes leave fans buzzing

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Players were forced to hit the deck after a truly bizarre incident during South Africa's win at the Cricket World Cup.

Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla struck unbeaten half-centuries as South Africa cruised to a nine-wicket victory at the Riverside Ground to put a major dent in Sri Lanka's hopes of reaching the Cricket World Cup semi-finals.

After putting Sri Lanka in to bat, South Africa were set a target of 204 as seamer Dwaine Pretorius took 3-25 off 10 overs in an innings that was interrupted by a swarm of bees that invaded the pitch and sent the players and umpires to the floor.

Du Plessis joined his teammates lying face down on the ground as a swarm of bees descended on Chester-le-Street and briefly halted play.

It was an odd sight, with all of the South Africans, two Sri Lanka batsmen and two umpires hitting the turf late in the first innings.

It wasn't the first time or place, in du Plessis' recollection, that a South Africa-Sri Lanka game had been interrupted by bees.

"I remember the last time, it was at Johannesburg against Sri Lanka, the same thing happened," he said.

"You are not brave enough when there is a swarm of bees flying. I'm brave, but not that brave."

Satirical Twitter account Iceland Cricket couldn't resist an opportunity to make light og the bizarre circumstances.

Soon enough, the bees moved on and so did the game. But it took a bit of sting out of Sri Lanka's batting, and South Africa breezed to victory.

After the early loss of Quinton de Kock, already-eliminated South Africa never looked troubled as Amla (80 not out) and Du Plessis (96 no) put on 175 for the second wicket, playing with a kind of freedom not seen before by the team in a dismal tournament for the side.

Sri Lanka needed victory to move level with fourth-placed England in the race for semi-final places, but struggled with bat and ball against an opponent who have now beaten them in 17 of their last 19 meetings.

Sri Lanka produced a fast start to their innings that was halted by the immaculate line and length of Pretorius as South Africa limited their opponents to 203 all out three balls shy of 50 overs.

South Africa's win over Sri Lanka was punctuated by a swarm of bees.
South Africa's match against Sri Lanka was halted because of bees. Pic: Getty

After overcoming the loss of captain Dimuth Karunaratne with the first ball of the match, Kusal Perera (30) and Avishka Fernando (30) raced to 67 inside the first 10 overs, taking the attack to the South Africans.

But Pretorius picked up both their wickets and slowed the run-rate, with seamer Chris Morris (3-46) also collecting key scalps, including that of Angelo Mathews (11).

They were aided by a slow wicket that made stroke-play difficult, but Sri Lanka's batting woes that have characterised their campaign to date returned, with Perera and Fernando ending as top-scorers in the innings.

South Africa reached their target with 76 balls to spare in an accomplished display that comes as too little, too late for them in the World Cup.

De Kock struck three crisp fours before he was bowled by the wily Lasith Malinga (1-47), but Amla and De Kock played a patient game and nudged the ball for singles and twos, showing the composure their opponents had lacked.

Amla took 56 balls for his half-century and Du Plessis 70, but they were always ahead of the run-rate and with no pressure on to bag a quick win, took their time.

They eventually sped up when the target narrowed to under 30, but Du Plessis ran out of runs to reach a deserved captain's ton.

With agencies

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