On this day in 2007: Sensational Malinga takes four wickets in four balls

On this day in 2007, former Sri Lanka pace spearhead Lasith Malinga came up with one of the most memorable individual performances in the history of the World Cup when he picked up four wickets in four balls against South Africa. It was also the first instance of a player taking four wickets in as many balls in international cricket.

Batting first in the Super Eight clash against the Proteas in Guyana, Sri Lanka came up with a poor show with the bat. The Islanders were all out for a below-par total of 209. At one stage, Sri Lanka was reeling at 98 for 5 and the 200-run mark was looking like a distant dream. However, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Russell Arnold shared a 97-run stand to help their team cross the 200-run mark. For South Africa, Charl Langeveldt was the star with the ball, taking 5 for just 39 off his 10 overs.

South Africa’s chase started on a poor note as Chaminda Vaas castled AB de Villiers for a duck. However, Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis did not let Sri Lanka capitalize on the early breakthrough. The duo added 94 runs for the second wicket. With Kallis holding firm from one end, South Africa was the favorites despite losing a few wickets.

Kallis and Shaun Pollock then took the score past the 200-run mark and put their team on the verge of the win when Malinga decided to shake things up a bit. The Proteas were comfortably placed at 200 for 5 when Malinga came to bowl the 45th over. Pollock hit him for a four on the second ball before taking a double on the fourth to all but seal the game before the drama unfolded.

On the final two balls of his over, Malinga dismissed Pollock and Andrew Hall to delay South Africa’s win. Despite losing those two wickets, South Africa was still the favourites but Malinga was not done yet. In the 46th over, Vaas conceded just 1 run which meant South Africa needed just three from the last 4 overs with three wickets in hand.

And just when everyone was expecting an easy win for South Africa, Malinga turned the game on its head by picking up two more wickets on the first two balls of the 47th over. On the first ball, he dismissed Kallis for 86 before castling Makhaya Ntini for a duck to reduce the Proteas to 207 for 9.

In a blink of an eye, the game had turned on its head. Langeveldt and Robin Peterson then survived the remaining four balls before the latter finished the game by hitting Malinga for a four in the 49th over.