South Africa v Sri Lanka, Super Eights, Guyana March 30, 2007

Langeveldt relives thrilling finish

Cricinfo staff



Charl Langeveldt is enjoying his role as a first-change bowler © Getty Images

South Africa's thrilling one-wicket escape against Sri Lanka may be primarily remembered for Lasith Malinga's four-wicket burst in a lost cause, but from the winning team's perspective it was the contribution of Charl Langeveldt which made the difference.

Langeveldt, the fast bowler, took 5 for 39 to restrict Sri Lanka to a modest 209 and he was not expecting to come out to bat after South Africa were cruising along at 206 for 5. However, Malinga's freakish spell - he captured four wickets off four balls - reduced South Africa to 207 for 9, and Langeveldt managed to play out nine deliveries in those tense moments and give support to Robin Peterson, who hit the winning runs.

"When I was batting there at the end, my heart was in my ... I don't know where it was," Langeveldt told AFP. "I was just thinking to get bat on ball, but I never expected that I would have to bat. I had been saying to the other guys that I would not have to bat. But that's cricket. You learn every day."

Langeveldt, a former prison warden, is establishing himself as a reliable first-change bowler and his ability to swing the ball adds variation to South Africa's attack. Against Sri Lanka, he took two wickets in quick succession in his first spell and returned to clean up the lower order to seal his second five-wicket haul in one-dayers.

"I prefer first-change," he said. "I like it when the ball's swinging and it was moving around against Sri Lanka in overcast conditions."

His performance was acknowledged by his captain Graeme Smith, who said he was being rewarded for his consistency. "Charl has been bowling well for a while," Smith said. "He is a superbly-skilled bowler and he showed that. He got the ball to swing and he bowled very well at the death for us and he blocked out ten balls with the bat in the last few overs."