West Indies end one-day series with six-wicket win
It was a crumb of comfort after a largely one-sided series, but it will have tasted no less sweet to Carl Hooper's men as the West Indies turned in a fine all-round performance to win the seventh and final one-day international by six wickets at Arnos Vale. South Africa win the series 5-2.
Chasing a modest 164 for victory on a pitch that flattened out in the afternoon sun but which still offered the bowlers plenty of help, Marlon Samuels (54 not out) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (32 not out) ensured there were no repeats of earlier collapses, seeing the West Indies home with five overs and four balls to spare.
Samuels again proved why he is rated so highly with a languidly elegant knock which included seven fours. Chanderpaul provided sensible support at the other end, striking three boundaries of his own - two in one over from Justin Ontong.
The innings was given a decent foundation by an opening partnership of 40 between Daren Ganga and Chris Gayle before Ganga (15) was run out after a dreadful mix-up, wicket-keeper Mark Boucher doing well to gather Shaun Pollock's return and throw down the stumps as Ganga clattered into him.
Gayle (28) was bowled by Jacques Kallis and when Justin Kemp and Herschelle Gibbs combined for the wickets of Brian Lara (18) and Carl Hooper (5), there was just a sense that the wheels might be about to come off.
Earlier, Cameron Cuffy tore through the South African top order, picking up 3-24 as he bowled his 10 overs straight through from the start in a superb exhibition of pace bowling. Fast and accurate and with useful support from Corey Collymore at the other end, Cuffy reduced South Africa to a disastrous 40-4, a position from which they never properly recovered.
Only a resolute 69 from 147 balls from Kallis held the South African innings together and saved his side from complete embarrasment.
After seeing out the first over, Gibbs (1) went into gun-slinging mood but lost a game of Russian roulette with Cuffy, top-edging a hook towrds fine leg where Collymore took a fine catch in the swirling breeze.
Three overs later opening partner Gary Kirsten was gone, brilliantly caught by Ganga at square-leg. Kirsten (6) pulled Collymore firmly but turned to see Ganga fly full length to his right and pluck the ball one-handed from the sky.
The 21-year-old Justin Ontong (2) received the chance he has been waiting for with a promotion up the order to number four - but he also received a beauty from Cuffy which he edged into the safe hands of Chris Gayle at second slip. Neil McKenzie (13) was Cuffy's third victim, looking to drive over the top but just failing to clear Ganga at mid-off.
Jonty Rhodes also struggled to make an impression in his 200th one-day game for South Africa, restricted to 16 off 33 balls before he looked to force left-arm spinner Neil McGarrell through the off side and edged the ball onto his stumps.
The consolidation continued with the arrival of Boucher to join Kallis, but runs continued to come intermittently as neither batsman was able to wrest the initiative away from the West Indian bowlers. The frustration eventually told, as Boucher (25) swung Samuels straight down McGarrell's throat on the mid-wicket boundary.
Kallis fell as the final slog struggled to materialise, heaving Samuels to Brian Lara at midwicket, Kemp (12 not out) and Pollock (7 not out) unable to find the boundary even once as the overs ran out.