Lasith Malinga took four wickets in four balls but ended on the losing side as South Africa beat Sri Lanka by one wicket.
South Africa completed an extraordinary one-wicket victory over Sri Lanka at Providence Stadium despite Lasith Malinga taking four wickets in four balls.
The world-number-one South Africans were just four short of their 210-run victory target when Malinga became the first bowler in international cricket to achieve the feat.
With tension brewing in the middle, Robin Peterson edged a four off Malinga to hand South Africa their first points in the Super Eight standings.
Malinga's late burst turned the first contest at this ground into one of the most nerve-wracking in one-day history and offered the possibility of a tied match, the result between the two countries at the 2003 World Cup.
With a single boundary needed, Malinga produced a ferocious yorker which rearranged Pollock's stumps.
When Andrew Hall spooned another full delivery to cover next ball panic well and truly set in.
That completed the 45th over of the innings and although Jacques Kallis, who struck a determined 86, ensured he got on strike for the hat-trick ball, his audacious drive provided wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara with a low catch.
It was fairytale stuff when Makhaya Ntini was undone by another screaming yorker which crashed into the base of the stumps.
But Charl Langeveldt, whose five-wicket haul restricted Sri Lanka's total after winning the toss, and Peterson crept over the line.
The narrow margin between success and failure was emphasised by Malinga's final ball of the 47th over, which grazed Peterson's off-stump on its way through to Sangakkara.
Cruelly it was another close affair which settled things as the ball flew to the third man rope, to send Peterson into a frenzied celebration, including the smashing down of the stumps at the bowler's end with a swing of his bat.
Such a narrow win, with 10 balls to spare, appeared almost unthinkable when South Africa were cruising at 160 for two in the 33rd over.
But Muttiah Muralitharan's two wickets in as many balls to dismiss Herschelle Gibbs and Mark Boucher, the first to a fine low return catch, checked the progress.
More fine work, this time by Sangakkara behind the stumps, accounted for Justin Kemp stumped off the bowling of Sanath Jayasuriya.
Kallis had responded emphatically to criticism of his go-slow style by limping South Africa along despite suffering cramp in the latter stages.
Kallis, criticised heavily back in his homeland for slow-scoring during defeat to Australia at the weekend, oversaw the chase with aplomb until Malinga's reintroduction to the attack for the delayed third powerplay.
Kallis came to the crease in the first over when Chaminda Vaas cleaned up AB de Villiers' stumps with a beauty which arced back into the right-hander.
Smith made use of Malinga's slingy pace in the early stages of the chase to hit re-direct three deliveries in quick succession through square-leg for four.
It highlighted the touch he appears to be in since arriving for this World Cup and he emphasised how dangerous he can be when set by blasting Vaas for a straight six on his way to a 50-ball half-century.
It took the Murali-Sangakkara double act to account for him shortly afterwards.
After being asked to field first, despite early morning rain freshening up the surface, South Africa bowled an opponent out for the first time in the tournament thanks to a late clatter of five wickets in as many overs.
The Proteas' bowling failures against minnows Scotland and the Netherlands were put into perspective as disciplined accuracy was backed up by superb fielding.
Langeveldt took a career-best five for 39, aided by three skiers being held in the 49th over.
Two other miscues against the new ball had provided him with the wickets of Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardene as Sri Lanka made an awful start.
It took half-centuries from Tillekeratne Dilshan and Russel Arnold to rescue the 1996 World Cup winners from a position of 98 for five.
South Africa's fielding no doubt restricted the scoring and they also affected two brilliant run-outs, the first by a horizontal Gibbs launching himself into the stumps in Jonty Rhodes fashion.
<LI>When Malinga took the third of those four wickets he joined a group of four men who previously taken World Cup hat-tricks:
<b>Chetan Sharma – India v New Zealand, 1987.</b>
Sharma's work in the field restricted New Zealand to 221 for nine as he picked up the first hat-trick in World Cup history in a nine-wicket win in Nagpur.
Ken Rutherford was the first to go, bowled by Sharma for 26. Ian Smith was next to fall – for a golden duck – and Sharma etched his name into the record books one ball later when he cleaned up Ewen Chatfield.
<b>Saqlain Mushtaq – Pakistan v Zimbabwe, 1999.</b>
Pakistan's supreme spinner bowled only 6.3 overs in the match but still came away with three victims in consecutive deliveries.
Wicketkeeper Moin Khan had a hand in two of the wickets, stumping both Henry Olonga and Adam Huckle before Mpumelelo Mbangwa was trapped leg before to give Saqlain figures of three for 16 and close the Zimbabwe innings.
<b>Chaminda Vaas – Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 2003.</b>
Vaas amazingly completed his feat with the first three balls of the match against Bangladesh to get his off to one of the most memorable starts in cricket history.
Hannan Sarkar was removed with the first ball of the day before a caught and bowled accounted for Mohammad Ashraful and Ehsanul Haque joined the procession when he offered a chance to Mahela Jayawardene without a run yet added to the Bangladesh total. Vaas finished with six for 25.
<b>Brett Lee – Australia v Kenya, 2003.</b>
Bowling first, Australia bowled Kenya out for 174, largely thanks to an explosive opening spell from speedster Brett Lee.
Kennedy Otieno was first in the pavilion with just three on the scoreboard before Brijal Patel hit his opening delivery to Ricky Ponting.
David Obuya's dismissal, clean bowled by the blond paceman, left Kenya reeling on three for three and completed Lee's hat-trick.
Will we get another thriller?
Special praise for CJ.
Better than only selling a Hundred tickets.
England win by a whopping two runs.
“I should have been facing coming into the last over with six to win.”
“He’s got an unbelievable record which I’d love to have.”
Praise from Caesar for Jofra Archer.
Let’s have less Rain Stopped Play and more Play Continued Through Rain.
What is the actual plan here, lads?