Durham: The ICC World Cup 2019 match between South Africa and Sri Lanka was stopped in bizarre circumstances at Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street (Durham) on Friday (June 28).

A swarm of bees sent players and umpires hugging the ground to avoid the flying insects. The incident happened in the 48th over of the Sri Lankan innings after being sent into bat by Proteas captain Faf du Plessis.

It was a brief stoppage and later the players and umpires were back on their feet to resume the innings. However, the crowd remained unfazed by the bees.

When the bees arrived, Chris Morris was bowling and Sri Lanka’s Isuru Udana and Suranga Lakmal were at the crease. The score was 194/8 in 47.5 overs.  Later Sri Lanka were bowled out for 203 in 49.3 overs.

It is worth recalling that a swarm of bees had stopped a match in Johannesburg in 2017 when the teams were playing. The official Twitter handle of the Cricket World Cup tweeted the two pictures from today’s and the incident in 2017 with the caption, “Bees two nations have a history!”.

“Not one spectator was stretched or bothered, and yet all the players were on the ground,” former England coach Paul Farbrace told BBC Test Match Special.

“There must have been some people wondering what on earth was going on. If you're new to that game you'd go home going 'not only do they stop for a drink but halfway through the game they all lay down! Stressful game, cricket!,” he added.

South Africa are out of contention for a semi-final berth at the World Cup 2019 while Sri Lanka have a slim chance. Sri Lanka, the 1996 champions, are at seventh position with six points from six matches while the Proteas are ninth with just three points from seven games.