South Africa v West Indies, Champions Trophy, Group B, Cardiff June 14, 2013

Pollard wicket hands South Africa semi-final place


South Africa 230 for 6 in 31 overs (Ingram 73, Dwayne Bravo 2-43) tied with West Indies 190 for 6 in 26.1 overs (D/L method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

It has been a decade since South Africa's miscalculation of Duckworth-Lewis saw them exit the World Cup in the first round. Finally, they will consider themselves redeemed.

In a twist of fate as perfectly formed as the ringlet on a young girl's crop of hair, West Indies were pushed out of the Champions Trophy after a rain-affected tied match. After 26.1 overs, with six wickets down, they needed 191 runs to win the match. They left the field on 190 for 6 as the drizzle drifted down. The result awarded a point to each side and South Africa progressed to the semi-finals by virtue of a greater net run rate.

If ever one ball was wholly decisive on the outcome of a match, the first ball of the 27th over was it. Kieron Pollard was dismissed when he threw his bat at a Ryan McLaren short ball and was caught at third man.

Had Pollard not been out, West Indies would have won the match because they were ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis par for five wickets down. Then it would have been them, not South Africa, who advanced to the semi-finals.

As the second innings developed, it seemed more likely West Indies side would pull off a heist. Despite losing Chris Gayle early and seeing their required run-rate soar to 9.5 per over, Marlon Samuels and Pollard plundered 58 runs off 33 balls to resurrect ghosts of tournaments past for South Africa.

When the requisite 20 overs had been reach to make sure the match would count West Indies were 14 runs behind the Duckworth-Lewis total they would have needed to win. At 130 for 4, Samuels decided it was time to tuck in and he took 15 runs off Robin Peterson's next over to close the gap.

But the fit-again Dale Steyn swung the pendulum back South Africa's way. He sent down four dot balls, including a superb bouncer, before conceding just two singles and the onus was on the batsmen again. Lonwabo Tsotsobe entered the ring next and Pollard took him on. Two blistering boundaries, one mistimed over third man, the other a pull to midwicket, clawed West Indies in again.

The protagonists would not have been misplaced at a Wimbledon doubles match as Samuels set on Steyn again. A pull for four off the first ball of his next over put pressure back on Steyn but he delivered the ace. Full, straight and on-target, he uprooted Samuels' middle-stump.

Enter Dwayne Bravo, whose clip for four kept West Indies exactly on par at the end of the 24th over. Pollard played the shot of the match with a straight drive for four off Tsotsobe in the next over and West Indies inched ahead. They stayed ahead after 26 overs and then Pollard made the mistake he will rue on the flight back home.

West Indies had taken 72 runs off the seven overs before Pollard was dismissed and seemed capable to continuing in that vein. The way West Indies batted will not answer questions of whether South Africa - propped up by Colin Ingram's 73 at the top of the order and the 68-run fifth-wicket stand between Faf du Plessis and David Miller - had managed enough runs in a rain-affected affair.

The performance will, however, put to rest some of their other concerns. Ingram notched up his highest score since taking over the opening role and acquitted himself particularly well against the spin of Sunil Narine. He and Hashim Amla put on the highest first-wicket stand of South Africa's campaign so far.

Their finishers had the opportunity to get into the game and did. Du Plessis and Miller took an average total and turned it into something South Africa would feel comfortable with. Most importantly for them, Steyn made a successful return from his side-strain. He bowled at good pace and found swing to restore confidence in their pace attack they can present later in the competition.

West Indies showed glimpses of the same. Tino Best bowled quickly - his fastest ball was 151.3kph - Ravi Rampaul had a menacing slower ball and Gayle, Samuels and Pollard cleared the boundary at will. They got the most crucial thing wrong.

So often, South Africa have been on that side of the equation. In 1992, they were eliminated from the World Cup because of rain. In 1996, the lost to West Indies. In 1999, they tied a semi-final against Australia and had to leave the World Cup because they had lost to them in the group stage. In 2003, they fell foul of Duckworth-Lewis. And at the 2004 and 2006 Champions Trophies defeats to West Indies put them out.

They may well see this result as a cathartic way to move past all of those and an omen that their major tournament fortunes are changing. But the real knockouts are still to come.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 21, 2013, 5:12 GMT

    i agree with silva, lack of communication n shrewdness from the west indies management costed them maybe the trophy.....messages shud have been sent to pollard before that over, he cud have slowed down the procedure....whats the use calling yself a proffessional.....i m sure dhoni wud nt have allowed this........ lots to learn bravo.

  • Dummy4 on June 18, 2013, 3:06 GMT

    Final : India VS SA I hope it will be fill 50 over match

  • Ray on June 18, 2013, 0:05 GMT

    On the West Indies bowing out of the Champions Trophy, I have yet to see the pertinent question asked: Of the overloaded West Indies backroom staff, who was in charge of keeping track of this complicated Duckworth-Lewis business? As part of his campaign for president of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Mr. Dave Cameron pledged transparency and accountability. On a tour, the tour manager is in charge. He is not on tour just to wear dark glasses and looking imperious, while looking at rain drops. In my opinion, after the loss, Mr. Cameron should have fired tour manager Mr. Richie Richardson on the spot. Furthermore, the gentleman should have been made to pay his way back to Antigua.

  • Harmon on June 17, 2013, 21:37 GMT

    @JG2704: I did say GRVJPR's 3rd sentence was not appropriate so why are you harping about it? WI lost a wicket off the final ball else they were winning the match and the SF slot. WI may have lost a wicket but I don't think anyone would call Sammy as a lesser batsman, he is quite good. 40 runs wouldn't have been too tough for him alone & there was Bravo too. Moreover, Steyn had just one more over left for the remaining 29 balls. SA's bowling did look very ordinary vs India. Good bowling vs Pak with what they've got for batting isn't exactly a good proof & WI did quite well vs them in that chase.

    At least GRVJPR made some sense in his comment. He was no where as bad as some of the comments made by some nice blokes here. Hope you remember.

    Btw, I have no problems with SA's progression. For me it makes the SF more interesting. I'd ideally want India to face Eng in SF & if they win then SA in Finals so that no one can say that India were lucky to beat weak teams.

  • John on June 17, 2013, 15:18 GMT

    @Harmony111 -

    We'll have to agree to disagree re GRVJPR in general. Obviously have to be careful what I say so can't say all I want to.

    But re "Very lucky south Africa" - To me that point can be argued about. WI still had 40 to get and with only one set batsman and an unset all rounder in and a long tail. Also SA did better vs India and Pak Re "SA behaving like the best team in the world" - What is meant by that? And I don't think they are miles behind either. They gave India a good game without Steyn, Kallis and Smith. And re doctored pitches - Isn't that something any fan can say about an opponent's conditions?

  • Harmon on June 17, 2013, 1:24 GMT

    @JG2704: Whether India are or aren't the best side is not the point. I don't care about it (nor believe that way). The point is not to make a counterpoint by twisting other's point.

    Reg GRVJPR's point, except his 3rd sentence everything else he says is either correct or can be argued for. It is indeed true that in Steyn's absence, SA's bowling does look a lot weaker and at times toothless. Morkel, for all his pace and bounce isn't exactly that effective in ODIs (not sure about stats though).

    The day comments that talked about us behind our backs stop coming in and those posters ameliorate I am sure GRVJPR would be happy to go mild too. You know about whom I am talking about. Somehow taking their names is not allowed. At least GRVJPR does not make any ghastly comments.

    Cricinfo, pls publish this time.

  • Bill on June 16, 2013, 18:38 GMT

    They should of played the Champions Trophy here in Gauteng SA, at least at this time of the year we do not get any rain. Then they would not have to worry about D/L. Surely in this day and age they should have a good idea what the weather is going to be like. I'm from SA but the D/L method is a lottery. I'm also curious how they work out the net run rate as a mathematical person. In my mind if one team scores 300 in 50 overs and the other team scores 250 in 50 overs the net run rate should be +1.00 in favour of the winning team

  • John on June 16, 2013, 9:35 GMT

    Another point to those who say that WI were nailed on to win/unlucky/DL biased against - none of who'm have answered my points about SA being just a wicket away from the WI tail and the WI having one (all rounder) batsmen fresh at the crease - Is that no one seems to have noticed that SA had to bowl with a wet ball during the middle/latter overs when WI coincidentally upped the tempo

  • Robin on June 16, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    What baffles me is the general approach by the Windies. It was a rain-effected match from the start in which they batted second, knowing that whatever target they were chasing could change, depending on the weather. Samuels showed his good and bad side by batting beautifully, then needlessly throwing his wicket away by hacking a straight length-ball from Steyn. Then Pollard doing what he did, when it wasn't necessary. I appreciate that scoreboard-pressure comes into it, but surely the Captain, Coach and Manager have to be made accountable for keeping on top of all the possible scenarios regarding the Duckworth/Lewis system, but the bottom line is the complete failure of communication cost them a place in the Semi-Final.

  • Dummy4 on June 15, 2013, 23:04 GMT

    D/L method completely favors one team in a match which is not fair. West Indies were cruising to get the target but English boring weather cost them.

    W Indies were one of the most entertaining team with having some great hitters like Gayle, Samuels, Pollard and Sami. it would be good if they stayed.