Prince and Kemp lift South Africa to another victory
South Africa 232 for 4 (Kemp 65, Prince 89*) beat West Indies 231 for 8 (Sarwan 48, Chanderpaul 85*) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball
South Africa added to West Indies' woes by claiming their fourth successive victory in the five-match series in Trinidad. A calculating fourth-wicket stand of 132 between Ashwell Prince and Justin Kemp rescued South Africa from a stodgy beginning at 61 for 3 to take them to their target of 232 with six wickets and 19 balls to spare.
The brutal Kemp bludgeoned 65 from 75 balls, after he made an unusually stilted start of his own. "The wickets are different out here," he admitted afterwards. "You really have to grind your runs." But, crucially, he refused to panic amid some restrictive West Indies bowling; instead he waited, pushing the ball around. It was the calm before the storm. Then came the explosion.
And Prince was all the while the perfect foil, his accumulative style the chalk to Kemp's cheese, and no less effective. His career-best knock of 89 not out came from 117 balls and included six fours.
South Africa had held the whip hand from the moment their stand-in captain Shaun Pollock won the toss and inserted the West Indies. The ever-impressive Makhaya Ntini was the pick of the bowlers; he snapped up 3 for 34 from 8 overs, making it ten wickets this series at an average of 15.8.
From the moment Ntini picked up Chris Gayle and Xavier Marshall cheaply - both caught by Prince at point for 3 - West Indies were under pressure (16 for 2). Andre Nel was in on the act shortly afterwards, finally getting his reward for yet another economical display when Brian Lara (22) spooned an uppish drive high over cover, where the reliable Prince ran hard to take a composed catch over his shoulder (61 for 3).
But a partnership of 50 between Chanderpaul and Sarwan added some respectability. It was the best West Indies could manage in the face of some decent line-and-length bowling which was backed up by some restrictive out-cricket; Prince alone took four quality catches.
West Indies' spirits were further lifted towards the end of the innings as Chanderpaul stood firm while Dwayne Bravo added a sparky 28 from 27 balls and Dwayne Smith chipped in 13, pounding Ntini over mid-wicket for six, and then clipping the ball back over his head two balls later. Bravo eventually edged Ntini through to Mark Boucher, then Andrew Hall's perfect awayswinger removed Smith. Charl Langeveldt continued to enhance his reputation as an accomplished death bowler, to remove Courtney Browne and Ian Bradshaw to check West Indies.
But South Africa didn't make easy work of their reply at first, Bradshaw striking an early double blow to set them wobbling at 36 for 2. AB de Villiers, in his first match this series, looked set when he needlessly offered a catch to Gayle. Boeta Dippenaar fell shortly after, edging to Marshall. West Indies' pace attack bowled with verve and aggression and Corey Collymore added Jacques Kallis; all three South African batsmen to fall had made 17.
With the pitch showing signs of breaking up, South Africa were struggling to control a spiralling required run-rate. But with the dangerous Kemp still at the crease, the task was certainly not beyond them. And there was a marked difference in the fielding, too: South Africa's was cool and composed, West Indies' poor and panicked.
Prince was put down twice, by Lara at slip and Marshall at short mid-wicket early on. Kemp offered three chances: Bradshaw was the first culprit, tipping the ball over the cover boundary for six, with the score 126 for 3. Collymore then spilled a difficult chance after making ground to his left and, soon after, Kemp heaved over deep midwicket where Marshall stepped on to the rope after holding the catch for yet another six; it was Kemp's 24th this calendar year, a new record, surpassing Lance Klusener's 23 in 1999. More importantly, South Africa were by now in the driving seat at 169 for 3.
Kemp's luck could not last, and his tame demise was at odds with his powerful hitting, as he top-edged Gayle high in the air to gully where Sarwan clung on. But his highest ODI score outside South Africa - topping the 46 he made in his team's last ODI here, back in 2000-01 - was enough to set up victory. Prince took them home with a four through long-on.
There is no respite for West Indies: the two sides return to Trinidad on Sunday with a buoyant South Africa confident of completing the whitewash.
Jenny Thompson is assistant editor of Cricinfo