South Africa and Sri Lanka began their ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 campaign on 7 October in Delhi, with records tumbling in the highest-scoring match ever in the tournament’s history.
In the initial innings, South Africa displayed their dominance against Sri Lanka by achieving a remarkable total of 428 runs, setting a new record for the highest score in a Men’s World Cup match. Despite a valiant effort from Sri Lanka in their chase, South Africa ultimately secured victory with a margin of 102 runs.
Watch: Match Highlights | CWC23
Despite losing their skipper early on, the Proteas racked up the highest team total in the history of the Men’s Cricket World Cup, with three players reaching triple figures – Quinton de Kock and Rassie van der Dussen first up before Aiden Markram slammed the quickest ODI World Cup century.
And in reply Sri Lanka fell short of their mammoth target, despite a phenomenal knock of 76 from Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka’s excellent 79 and Shanaka’s rearguard 68.
Match 4: South Africa beat Sri Lanka by 102 runs
Centuries from De Kock, Van der Dussen and Markram saw South Africa post a phenomenal 428/5, setting a new record for the highest team total at an ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.
After the platform had been set by de Kock’s 100 from 84 balls and van der Dussen’s 110-ball 109, the Proteas unleashed in the back half of the innings, putting an injury-hit Sri Lankan attack to the sword.
Markram was the star of the show, breaking Kevin O’Brien’s record for the fastest-ever Cricket World Cup century, bringing up his ton with a six off just the 49th delivery he’d faced and finishing on 106 from 54 balls.
And Heinrich Klassen (32 from 20), David Miller (39 from 21) and Marco Jansen (12 from 7) kept up the phenomenal rate of scoring as South Africa left Sri Lanka needing something extraordinary in their reply in Delhi.
Runs continued to flow after the interval, as Sri Lanka put together an impressive attempt at their implausible target.
Sri Lanka’s reply got off to the worst possible start as they lost opener Pathum Nissanka without scoring, bowled by Jansen.
But there was briefly hope that the Lankans could pull off the greatest ever World Cup chase when Mendis unleashed fury through the Powerplay.
Mendis brought up his 50 with a huge six over deep square leg, reaching the milestone off just 25 balls and with his partner Kusal Perera still on 0 having faced just seven deliveries.
Perara’s strange innings came to an end when he was cleaned up by Jansen for 7 from 15 balls, but the relentless Mendis just kept on going, and looked like he could even break the record set by Markram just a few hours earlier.
But when Kagiso Rabada removed Mendis the game was effectively over as a contest – a fact that was clear to see in Rabada’s huge reaction to getting the key wicket.
Mendis’ remarkable 76 had come from just 42 balls and featured eight maximums as well as a quartet of fours.
And, although Sri Lanka were well ahead of South Africa’s scoring rate for much of the first half of their reply, it was the wickets that hurt their chances of doing something remarkable, with Sadeera Samarawickrama (23 from 19) and Dhananjaya de Silva (11 from 14) also back in the hutch by the midway stage.
Asalanka kept Sri Lanka’s momentum going, rattling his way to a half century and scoring 12 boundaries, including four sixes, in his lively 65-ball 79.
And some sloppy fielding, including a number of dropped chances, meant that South Africa had to wait for their inevitable victory.
Shanaka also reached his half-century as Sri Lanka continued to impress with the bat.
But the win did ultimately come, with Rabada bagging the 10th wicket to bowl Sri Lanka out for a well-fought 326, still 102 runs shy of the gargantuan target.
Watch: Rassie van der Dussen powers South Africa with ton against Sri Lanka | CWC23
Shanaka had called it right at the toss and opted to field, noting the possibility of dew as a factor behind his decision. He also added that the Delhi track was a good one for batting and his team’s aim was the restrict South Africa.
And it looked like the right decision when Sri Lanka drew first blood when they removed the Proteas skipper Temba Bavuma for 8 in the second over. South Africa sought to wrest back control before bedding in to lay a platform as Sri Lanka bowled with decent discipline through the Powerplay.
It was in the ninth over, bowled by Shanaka, that de Kock opened his arms and hit him for a six. Soon, de Kock and his partner van der Dussen unleashed a flurry of exquisite strokes and helped the South Africa rate pick up. This included a sequence of 6,4,4 from the willow of van der Dussen against de Silva in the 11th over.
Van der Dussen reached his half-century in the 18th over with a boundary against Matheesha Pathirana. De Kock reached a half-century of his own in the 22nd over.
And the duo kept their attack on the spinners, taking 12 runs off de Silva in the 23rd over. And with the platform set, South Africa went huge in the second half of their innings.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Temba Bavuma (c), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Gerald Coetzee, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi
Sri Lanka: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis (wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka (c), Dunith Wellalage, Kasun Rajitha, Dilshan Madushanka, Matheesha Pathirana