ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

South Africa v West Indies, World Cup 2011, Group B, Delhi

Tahir and de Villiers star in seven-wicket win

The Bulletin by Liam Brickhill

February 24, 2011

Comments: 92 | Text size: A | A

South Africa 223 for 3 (de Villiers 107*, Smith 45, Pollard 1-37) beat West Indies 222 (Bravo 73, Tahir 4-41, Botha 2-48) by seven wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Imran Tahir celebrates the fall of a West Indian wicket, South Africa v West Indies, World Cup, Group B, Delhi, February 24, 2011
Imran Tahir took four wickets on debut to help set up an easy seven-wicket win © Getty Images
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AB de Villiers showed his pedigree with his second World Cup hundred, his 10th in all one-day internationals, and the fastest by a South African in a World Cup as South Africa chased down 223 at a canter at the Feroz Shah Kotla, the result sealed in the 43rd over for the loss of only three wickets.

De Villiers, who was named ODI Player of the Year for 2010, barely put a foot wrong in his knock, ticking along at better than a-run-a-ball from the start and sounding an ominous warning for South Africa's opponents in this tournament. He shared in a decisive 119-run stand for the third wicket with Graeme Smith and shut down the game by adding a further 84 in JP Duminy's company.

South Africa's batsmen built upon the good work of their bowlers as Imran Tahir had a debut to remember, picking up four wickets and striking at crucial moments to peg West Indies back on a pitch that displayed none of the demons that led to the abandonment of the last international game at this ground in December 2009.

A new-look South African bowling unit kept a lid on a combustible West Indies, the spinners bowling a combined 29 overs for just 138 runs as West Indies imploded to be all out for 222 when, at one stage, 270 had seemed more likely. After the spinners had kept South Africa in control for much of the game, Dale Steyn returned at the death to ensure there would be no late fightback.

South Africa were in dire need of a counterpunch when de Villiers entered at the end of the fifth over with West Indies' new-ball bowlers in the midst of an inspired opening spell. Hashim Amla, whose 1,322 runs in the year leading up to this World Cup has made him one of the vital cogs in South Africa's one-day line-up, and Jacques Kallis both fell to sharp catches behind the wicket as Kemar Roach bowled with real pace and, continuing the trend already being set by other teams in this competition, left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn shared the new ball with success.

South Africa were 20 for 2 with that dismissal but, defying West Indies' attempts to keep the pressure on, de Villiers appeared totally in control from the start of his innings. Threading the gap between cover and point on multiple occasions, he sprinted into the 20s at better than a-run-a-ball and South Africa were soon trundling along at well above the asking rate.

West Indies desperately needed another breakthrough and the talismanic Dwayne Bravo might have been just the man to provide it but in his third over a painful knee injury put an end to his contribution to his team's defence. Attempting to change direction mid-follow through and cut off a drive from Smith, Bravo swivelled awkwardly and immediately fell to the ground, clutching his knee. The physiotherapist was called for and Bravo was helped from the field and taken to hospital for scans. The extent of the damage will not be known until the results of those tests are in.

South Africa marched confidently on in his absence, de Villiers bringing up a 54-ball fifty with a massive blow over wide long-on in the 22nd over and Smith providing steady support until he missed a straight one from Kieron Pollard and had his middle stump flattened five runs short of a half-century of his own. His departure sparked wild celebrations, and at 139 for 3 in the 29th over there was still a chance the chase could get tricky. There was barely a hint of nerves from Duminy and de Villiers, however, and after a short break for rain they eased South Africa home with minimum fuss, de Villiers reaching his ton from just 97 balls.

The chase might have been rather more challenging had West Indies' batsmen been able to make more of the solid platform laid by Darren Bravo and Dwayne Smith, who helped their team weather the early departure of Chris Gayle with a 111-run partnership. Dwayne Bravo and Shivnarine Chanderpaul showed some fight with a 58-run stand of their own but there was precious little support from the rest of the line-up.

Smart Stats

  • After Darren Bravo fell for 73 off 82 balls with the score on 113 for 2, West Indies lost the next eight wickets for just 89 runs.
  • AB de Villiers' century is his second consecutive hundred against West Indies in World Cups after his 146 in the World Cup 2007. It is also his tenth century overall in ODIs.
  • In 39 matches since the beginning of 2009, de Villiers has scored 1947 runs at an average of 62.80 and strike rate of 97.88 with seven centuries and 11 fifties.
  • The 119-run partnership between Graeme Smith and de Villiers is the second highest for the third wicket for South Africa in World Cup matches behind the 145-run stand between Daryll Cullinan and Gary Kirsten against UAE in 1996.
  • Imran Tahir's spell of 4 for 41 is the third-best by a bowler making his ODI debut in a World Cup game. The best bowling performance belongs to Canada's Austin Codrington who picked up 5 for 27 against Kenya in 2003.

The thoroughness of South Africa's gameplans and their willingness to utilise unorthodox tactics was in evidence first in their decision to include no less than three frontline spinners in Johan Botha, Tahir and Robin Peterson and then when, for the first time in his career, Botha opened the bowling and soon snared Gayle with an edge to slip.

Bravo set the early tone with a couple of deftly glanced boundaries off Steyn and brought up a 55-ball 50 in the 16th over, his third in ODIs, and celebrating the milestone with a remarkable one-handed smite over long-on off Tahir. The century stand was brought up off 117 deliveries in the 20th over, and with West Indies starting to seize the initiative Smith turned to Botha.

Again the offspinner provided the breakthrough, slipping one past an uncertain flick to pin Bravo in front of middle and dismiss him for 73 despite a slightly desperate referral from the batsman. Tahir then took centre stage, holding a a simple caught-and-bowled chance off Smith for his first international wicket and removing Ramnaresh Sarwan before he had time to settle

Just as the elder Bravo and Chanderpaul were starting to flow a brainless piece of running put paid to their fightback. A reverse-sweep from Chanderpaul went straight to the man at short third man but inexplicably a run was called for and Bravo was easily run out for 40, the score 178 for 5 in the 38th over.

West Indies unravelled with alarming speed thereafter, their innings sliding swiftly into mediocrity after Chanderpaul, who had upped the tempo with a couple of thumping strikes, chipped Tahir straight to Peterson at long-off. Kieron Pollard's arrival at the crease caused an immediate ripple of excitement among a decent crowd of spectators, but Steyn returned to dismiss him for a golden duck with a skidding inswinger that struck the pad in front of middle and leg. Tahir had his fourth wicket when a wild swipe from wicketkeeper Devon Thomas ended up in JP Duminy's hands, running back from extra cover, and the tail proved no match for Steyn's pace and accuracy as the innings was wrapped up soon afterwards.

Match Timeline

Liam Brickhill is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 92 
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Posted by Donald on (February 26, 2011, 12:19 GMT)

As a bowler Botha has a stark resemblance to Shillingford. Shillingford has been suspended.

Posted by Derek on (February 26, 2011, 0:17 GMT)

Gayle being the WI reknown opener. This means a good captain should know exactly how to exploit his weaknesses from the off. Sammy either needs to hold Gayle back ocassionally to scuffer such plans or Gayle must learn adopt his game to what he is faced with {That is fundamental in cricket}. I would like to see an experiment of Gayle Pollard opening against the Dutch. If Smith is selected he should come 5. Gayle Pollard Bravo, Sarwan, Smith them Chanderpaul. If this works Gayle Pollard could get them to 80-90 off the first 10 overs if it fails them Bravo, Sarwan Smith and Chanderpaul have enough overs to etch a competitive total. I would also be tempted to rest Smith, bring in Russell who can bat a bit and let Thomas bat 6.

Posted by Andrew on (February 25, 2011, 19:02 GMT)

Windies shouldn't be too disheartened. SA did the exact same thing to Australia before the WC. I think this Darren Bravo will be a superstar.

Posted by Venkata on (February 25, 2011, 14:57 GMT)

Absolutely fantastic start by SA. Can't get any better than this. Only problem with the team is the no 8 batsmen.. I would like to see either Ingram or Van wyk instead Petersen. Otherwise everything is looking ominous for SA. And i also want Duminy/Kallis/Duplessis to bowl 10 overs B/W them. That will provide the perfect balance.. All the best to SA for the rest of the tournament..:) As fas as this match, Tahir & Botha did their job exceedingly well so was Steyn & Morkel.. Their fielding was pretty good.. AB "baby" played a fantabulous inns.. Smith looked out of sorts (which he has been for a while now in ODI's).. Just an Off-game for Amla & Kallis.. Duminy looked calm & composed.. Everything is looking bright for SA.. The cup i ours.. :)

Posted by Kirwin on (February 25, 2011, 13:44 GMT)

Try opening with Gayle & Pollard and see what happens.

Posted by Cricket on (February 25, 2011, 11:37 GMT)

Sammy was very defensive! When they had a momentum going he should not have changed the psition of pollard. Thomas was not suppose to go before pollard. Why are so fearsome. Pollards freedom was declined due to that...However pollard was knocked away by preplanned smith to let Steyn attacks him. Good captaincy all around by smith. WI must be aggressive

Posted by Robin on (February 25, 2011, 11:21 GMT)

Well surprise-surpise!!..the Windies have disappointed yet again. The only positives were the Bravos, Darren just impresses me the more i see of him and Dwayne was looking good until that unfortunate run-out with Shiv happened. As others have stated we need another specialist bowler in the team, as Roach and Benn were simply not supported enough. Sammy and Pollard are containers, but any half-decent batsmen should milk them for runs all day long. It's only the first match but the Windies better improve in all areas against the Dutch and Irish, because they could be in danger of getting turned over. Credit to the Saffers though, their leg-spinner looks good, but i won't be convinced as to how good until i see him against India, England and Bangladesh. Also i felt that the SA batting after Duminy looked very light. I can see that getting exposed against stronger bowling line-ups, as the tournament goes on. The crunch match for Windies in this group will be against the Banglas.

Posted by saumitra on (February 25, 2011, 9:16 GMT)

Fairy tale start for SA really, every move by smith worked, botha took gayle in the first over who showcased his weakness against spin, Tahir had a magical debut 4/41, steyn blew away the tail including the prize wicket of pollard , and finally extraordinary batting by AB

Posted by Nilantha on (February 25, 2011, 8:28 GMT)

wow SA looked very good yesterday, they look a balanced team and definately one of the teams to lift the cup, but as usual the question is do they have the heart when the pressure is on?they have always failed in this dept imho in the past but maybe this time will be different?they have probably the most talented line up in the competition so should do well...

Posted by Sathyen on (February 25, 2011, 6:15 GMT)

As long as West Indies don't play Genuine bowlers this is always going to happen. You just cannot go into a match with 2 specialist bowlers. The batsman faltered but even if they had scored 350 that bowling attack wouldn't have defend it. What is Sammy doing in the team? Batting at 9 and bowling 120 Km/h neither taking wickets nor scoring runs. If West Indies don't bring in Russell for the next match they will be beaten by Netherlands for sure. And to all Devon Smith fans, he scored 36 runs but looked like getting out at any time, also the moment Darren Bravo got out, it was for him to take the batting until the 45th over. Did he do that? He didn't, instead he got out the very next over and exposed two new batsmen straightaway. Gayle, Sarwan and Chanders might not have scored lot of runs in this match but when they get in they bat well into 50 overs and that's why they have such a high average while Devon Smith doesn't and what the hell is Pollard doing at No. 8?

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