The on-field scenes were reminiscent of a match at South Africa’s Wanderers Stadium in February 2017, when the two sides were forced to take similar evasive action.
In that instance, players were forced to leave the field when it became apparent the bees would not move on of their own accord.
Wanderers Stadium ground staff were able to temporarily move the swarm on with a fire extinguisher – only for the defiant insects to return.
Finally, a professional entered the field of play in full beekeeper attire, plastic box full of honeycomb in hand. Play resumed shortly thereafter.
Victory at the Riverside Ground would keep Sri Lanka’s semi-final hopes alive. After overcoming the loss of captain Dimuth Karunaratne in the first ball of the innings on Friday, Kusal Perera (30) and Avishka Fernando (30) raced to 67 inside the first 10 overs.
But Pretorius (3-25 in 10 overs) picked up both wickets and slowed the run-rate, as South Africa took control of the innings against a nervous Sri Lankan side that retreated into their shell.
South Africa, who have already been eliminated from the World Cup, have won 16 of their last 18 meetings with Sri Lanka, including a 5-0 clean-sweep at home in March.