SOUTH Africa, England and Sri Lanka made a mockery of the seedings by blasting their way into the semi-finals of the Hong Kong International Cricket Sixes at the Kowloon Cricket Club yesterday. South Africa, making their debut in the tournament and seeded eighth of the nine teams, did not lose a wicket in beating fifth-ranked New Zealand and second seeds the West Indies to win their preliminary group. England, seeded seventh, came out on top of the toughest group of the three, beating fourth seeds India and third seeds Australia with ruthless efficiency to set up a semi-final against Clive Rice's South Africans. The third team to win through to the last four yesterday were Sri Lanka, who lifted their game to hammer defending champions Pakistan and then maintained the momentum against Hong Kong, showing no mercy on the hosts in beating them by a massive 66 runs. Sri Lanka will have to wait until this afternoon to know their semi-final opponents, however, as the three teams who finished second in the groups contest a round-robin series today. The three are top seeds Pakistan, who suffered an opening day defeat last year before going on to win the inaugural Sixes, New Zealand and Australia, the fifth and third seeds respectively. South Africa made their intentions clear from the start, restricting New Zealand to 44 for three in their five overs and coasting home with an unbroken opening stand of 46 by Adrian Kuiper and Peter Kirsten with two overs in hand. Kuiper and Kirsten then laid the foundations for a last-ball victory over West Indies, scoring 31 and 33 respectively before having to retire under tournament rules. When skipper Rice joined the action, three runs were needed for victory off the final delivery, bowled by Courtney Walsh. And Rice came out on top, scoring the winning boundary through square leg to earn his side a second successive six-wicket victory. Signing autographs on the balcony a few minutes after securing a place in the last four, Rice said: ''I haven't felt as nervous as that for a long time; my hands are still shaking.'' And on his side's chances of going all the way on their Sixes debut, Rice added: ''That is what we intend to do. There is only one place to come in any competition and that's first. ''We have done quite a lot of things right but we are looking to improve our performance in other areas. We've got a good combination with our top four batsmen and Kuiper and Kirsten are playing superbly. ''We are an unknown quantity with players who have a point to prove after being overlooked for the South African Test team. ''Kuiper and Kirsten are match-winners and are keen to show their mettle. When the Sixes goes out on South African TV, maybe they will embarrass the guys who haven't picked them.'' Asked about the selection of his team, Rice said: ''If they are going to play in my side they are going to be bloody committed. As a nation we are finding our way back into sport because of the years in isolation. Tournaments like this - and the Hong KongSevens for the rugby players - help you find out how to improve.'' England skipper Gooch hailed the ''Lancashire connection'' of Neil Fairbrother and Phil DeFreitas after his side's two impressive victories. Wicketkeeper Fairbrother took a brilliant diving catch to dismiss Indian opener Ravi Shastri and contributed scores of 20 and 31 not out. DeFreitas retired unbeaten on 33 against India before conceding just eight runs off his over and then bettered that performance in a tense match against Ashes rivals Australia, taking one wicket for one run and scoring 22 not out. Said Gooch: ''From the word 'go' our aim was to get into the semi-finals and we are pleased to have achieved that with two comfortable wins. Now we know if we play well in one semi-final we are in the final. ''The Lancashire connection were good choices and DeFreitas must be in line for the Man of the Tournament award.'' Sri Lanka's Aravinda de Silva is another contender after hitting an unbeaten 36 and taking one for six against Pakistan and then smashing an unbeaten 35 and taking one for 10 against Hong Kong. Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga said: ''Last year we came with a side that didn't really know what was happening and we let ourselves down. ''This time we know what it's all about and what is required and we are able to play more positive and entertaining cricket. ''There is still a way to go but we will be going flat out and giving 110 per cent in each match.'' TODAY'S SCHEDULE 9 am: New Zealand v Australia (Cup eliminator). 9.45 am: India v Hong Kong (Plate). 10.30 am: Australia v Pakistan (Cup eliminator). 11.15 am: West Indies v Hong Kong (Plate). Noon: New Zealand v Pakistan (Cup eliminator). 12.45 pm: Lunch.1.30 pm: South Africa v England (Cup semi-final). 2.15 pm: Sri Lanka v winner of Cup eliminators (Cup semi-final). 3 pm: Play-off for fifth place. 3.45 pm: Play-off for third place. 4.30 pm: Cup final.