It was an odd sight, with all of the South Africans, two Sri Lanka batsmen and two umpires hitting the turf late in the first innings. Soon enough, the bees moved on and so did the game. But it took a bit of sting out of Sri Lanka's batting, and South Africa breezed to victory.
It wasn't the first time or place, in du Plessis' recollection, that a South Africa-Sri Lanka game had been interrupted by bees. "I remember the last time, it was at Johannesburg against Sri Lanka, the same thing happened," he said. "It is very funny. Looks like someone's just had a machine-gun through all the players on the field and everyone is down on the ground!
"Yeah, you are not brave enough when there is a swarm of bees flying. I'm brave, but not that brave."
A World Cup semifinal spot seems a long way off for a Sri Lanka lineup that lost its captain on the first ball and then slumped to a nine-wicket loss to South Africa at Durham.
There was a bit of a buzz for a while, but it didn't last long. A swarm of bees halted the game in the 48th over. All the players and both umpires went to ground, face down, to avoid any stings before play continued and Sri Lanka was quickly dismissed for 203.
South Africa lost only one wicket — Quinton de Kock (15) bowled by a trademark Lasith Malinga yorker — in coasting to victory with more than 12 overs to spare.
Skipper Faf du Plessis scored 96 and Hashim Amla was 80 in an unbeaten 175-run stand, easily South Africa's best of the tournament. Du Plessis posted his third half-century of the tournament with a single from Suranga Lakmal, then drove the next delivery over temporary broadcasting scaffolding and out of the ground, requiring a used replacement ball for the rest of the match.
Amla was on 68 when was given out lbw to Jeevan Mendis with the total at 166-1. The veteran opener had just about left the field when his referral to the TV umpire confirmed the ball pitched outside leg stump and he had to make his way back to the crease.
The South Africans were already out of semifinal contention after winning just one of their first seven games, but had won 16 of their previous 18 ODIs against Sri Lanka and got on top quickly.
Sri Lanka can still reach the semis, but needs to win its remaining group games against West Indies and India and rely on other results going its way.
South Africa is closing in on its second win of the World Cup and making it more difficult for Sri Lanka to qualify for the playoffs.
Hashim Amla hit 57 from 74 balls for his second half-century of the tournament and Faf du Plessis was on 47 as South Africa reached 130-1 after 25 overs. The South Africans need 74 more runs with nine wickets in hand for the win.
South Africa was already out of semifinal contention with only one win from its first seven games.
The Sri Lankans were chasing a win at Durham that would move them equal on eight points with fourth-placed England.
It didn't start well when Sri Lanka lost a wicket on the first ball of the match and was eventually bowled out for 203 in 49.3 overs.
Lasith Malinga took Sri Lanka's only wicket in the first half of the innings, bowling Quinton de Kock (15) with one of his trademark yorkers in the fifth over.
Like a lot of Afghanistan's players, captain Gulbadin Naib first learned his cricket as a refugee living in Pakistan.
The teams will meet on Saturday in a group game that could derail Pakistan's hopes of reaching the semifinals. Naib's team is looking at the game more as their chance to notch a first win in the tournament.
They're confident the relationship between the teams will remain cordial, regardless of the outcome in Leeds.
"If you look for our cricket, we learn a lot of cricket, Pakistan, we also played cricket in Pakistan," Naib said, adding a touch of diplomacy. "And we also are hoping cricket, the sport is one thing so you can keep a good relationship.
"When you play together a lot of cricket it's good for the country relationships. We're hoping (in) coming years we'll play a lot of cricket with them."
A semifinal spot seems a long way off for a Sri Lanka lineup that lost its captain on the first ball against South Africa and was dismissed for 203 at Durham.
There was potential for a sting in the tail of the innings. A swarm of bees halted the game for some minutes in the 48th over, with all the players and both umpires lying face down on the ground to avoid any problems before play continued and the last two wickets were lost for nine runs.
Sri Lanka was coming off an upset win over England that changed the momentum of the tournament but was under pressure quickly after losing the toss and being sent in to bat.
Paceman Kagiso Rabada removed Dimuth Karunaratne on the first ball with a well-directed short ball that the Sri Lanka skipper could only fend away to opposing captain du Plessis at second slip.
Sri Lanka recovered with a 67-run partnership between second-wicket pair Avishka Fernando and Kusal Perera, who both scored 30, before recalled all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius dismissed them in the 10th and 12th overs.
Chris Morris picked up the key wicket of Angelo Mathews, who scored an unbeaten 85 against England to hold the Sri Lanka innings together last week, when the allrounder dragged an attempted pull shot back onto his stumps and was out for 11.
The 30-year-old Pretorius then dismissed Kusal Mendis (23) to return the 3-25 from 10 overs — the most economical bowling figures so far at the tournament.
Sri Lanka's bowlers successfully defended 232-9 in a 20-run win over England at Leeds a week ago, and will have to peak again with a another small total on the board.
South Africa paceman Dwaine Pretorius has taken three wickets to have Sri Lanka in trouble at 127-5 after 32 overs in the World Cup group game at Durham.
Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne was out on the first ball of the match when he tried to fend away a short ball from Kagiso Rabada.
The Sri Lankans recovered to reach 67-1 in the 10th over before Pretorius struck for the first time, having Avishka Fernando caught at mid-off after scoring 30 from 29 balls.
He bowled Kusal Perera (30) in his next over and, after Chris Morris removed the dangerous Angelo Mathews (11) he returned to dismiss Kusal Mendis (23) to have Sri Lanka in serious trouble at 111-5 in the 27th over.
He finished with 3-25 from his 10 overs.
West Indies allrounder Carlos Brathwaite has been fined 15% of his match fee for showing dissent at an umpire's decision in the loss to India on Thursday in Manchester.
The incident occurred in the 42nd over of India's innings, when Brathwaite protested a call of wide off his bowling.
He admitted the offence and accepted the sanction from match referee Chris Broad.
Brathwaite has two demerit points from the tournament. He was sanctioned for a similar offence on June 14 against England in Southampton.
After losing skipper Dimuth Karunaratne on the first ball of the match, Sri Lanka has recovered to reach 67-2 against South Africa after 10 overs of their group game.
Karunaratne tried to fend away a short ball from Kagiso Rabada and angled a looping catch to opposing captain Faf du Plessis at second slip, becoming the second player to be dismissed on the first ball of a game at this tournament. New Zealander Martin Guptill was out first ball of the match against the West Indies last week.
Avishka Fernando scored 30 from 29 balls before he was caught off Dwaine Pretorius's bowling on the penultimate ball of the 10th over.
Kusal Perera was unbeaten on 28 after 10 overs.
South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis has won the toss and sent Sri Lanka in to bat in the Cricket World Cup group game at Durham.
Sri Lanka is still in contention for a playoff spot after its upset win over England. Nuwan Pradeep has been sidelined with an illness and has been replaced by paceman Suranga Lakmal in the only change to the Sri Lanka lineup that beat England last Friday.
South Africa is out of contention with just one win from its opening seven games and made two changes to its starting XI, with veteran JP Duminy coming in for David Miller and Dwaine Pretorius starting in place of fast bowler Lungi Ngidi.
A win would move Sri Lanka to eight points, equal with England, with games remaining against West Indies and India.
Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Perera, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga.
South Africa: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, JP Duminy, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir.
Sri Lanka is aiming to follow its upset win over No. 1-ranked England with a victory over South Africa in Durham on Friday to maintain its chance of reaching the World Cup semifinals.
Sri Lanka's win over England was the start of a sequence of results that removed some predictability in the playoff combination and put pressure on the tournament hosts.
In head-to-head contests, the Sri Lankans have lost 16 of their last 18 one-day internationals against South Africa, including the last five, but are growing in confidence on the back of performances from veterans Lasith Malinga and Angelo Mathews.
South Africa is already out of contention after winning just one of its first seven games at the tournament.
Two Sri Lanka's six competition points come from washed out games earlier in the tournament.
The weather forecast for Durham is for a cloudy start, clearing to sunny in the afternoon.
More AP cricket: www.apnews.com/cricket and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports