South Africa 411 for 4 (Amla 159, du Plessis 109, Rossouw 61*) beat Ireland 210 (Balbirnie 58, Abbott 4-21) by 201 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Just another day with 400 scored in a one-day international. Twice in two innings South Africa have now crossed the milestone, this time anchored by hundreds from Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis, as they overwhelmed Ireland by 201 runs which did severe damage to their net run rate, which could be a factor in quarter-final qualification.
Given the margin it is stretching the point to suggest one dropped catch changed the game, but Ireland found out how costly it can be to reprieve Amla when he was shelled on 10 by Ed Joyce at short midwicket. It would have left South Africa 25 for 2. Amla and du Plessis forged a 247-run stand for the second wicket before Rilee Rossouw and David Miller closed the innings with a partnership of 110 off 51 balls for the fifth wicket.
They could even afford for AB de Villiers to fall for 24 - albeit off nine balls - and still enjoy a super-charged finish. Rossouw brought up the 400 with his third six, clubbed over deep midwicket in the final over which cost 24, to carry South Africa beyond 400 for the third time this year. Next stop, 450.
Ireland have not been frightened by chasing 300 at World Cups, having done it successfully three times including against West Indies in this tournament, but this target would have been beyond their compass even without such a terminal early slide to 48 for 5 against South Africa's pace attack. Kyle Abbott continued to flourish as Vernon Philander's understudy with 4 for 21.
The Brendon McCullum School Of Captaincy would have been to aim for the swift finish, but de Villiers opted to try a few of his fifth-bowler combinations (including himself, with the reward of a wicket) and Ireland showed their spirit. Andy Balbirnie, who was picked out by many of his team-mates before the tournament as a player to watch, struck a plucky half-century from 66 balls and Kevin O'Brien hit 48 which moved the defeat away from record-breaking territory. The lower-order runs could yet be crucial in future calculations.
There was inevitability to South Africa's mammoth total once Amla and du Plessis had settled themselves inside the opening Powerplay. The ten-over splits highlighted the team's seamless progress: 57, 58, 66, 99 and 131 - the last block dominated by Rossouw, with 27-ball fifty, and Miller.
Amla's hundred, his 20th in his 108th innings, which made him comfortably the fastest to that landmark, came at a calculated run-a-ball and as he skipped past his previous best of 153 with nine overs remaining, the second double-hundred of the tournament was there for the taking before he picked out long-off.
Du Plessis' century, brought up from 103 deliveries, was his first since last September against Zimbabwe and followed half-centuries against India and West Indies. On 19 he had edged Stirling between the keeper and O'Brien at slip, but it was a much tougher opportunity than the one given to Amla.
His reprieve marked the end of a brief period at the start of the match where Ireland made life tricky. John Mooney, who began with consecutive maidens, continued Quinton de Kock's difficult start to the tournament when the opener edged a delivery slanted across him although Ireland needed to use the DRS.
However, even in the early overs when Mooney hit a testing line and length there was no support from the other end as Max Sorensen's first two overs cost a contrasting 21, including five wides. O'Brien's first two overs, following the pain of seeing Amla missed, also went for 21 and William Porterfield turned to George Dockrell in the tenth over.
The 24th over, the second of Sorensen's second spell, provided a kick to the innings as it was dispatched for 24; Amla effortlessly took sixes over long-on and cover while du Plessis picked up one for himself. The second over of the second Powerplay, bowled by O'Brien, cost 13 and the next from Mooney was flayed for 27 as his figures took a battering. Amla continued to lead the sixes count, including a wonderful inside-out drive over cover. O'Brien, though, held his nerve and produced a well-disguised slower-ball yorker to defeat du Plessis, although Ireland's fellow bowlers may have wondered if that was a smart move when de Villiers strode to the middle.
This time the fireworks were brief. There was not a dot ball in sight as he skipped to 24 off eight but then got too far under a reverse sweep against Andy McBrine, recalled to side in place of Alex Cusack. It meant a memorable double for the offspinner who, two balls earlier, had ended Amla's stay. McBrine finished with figures he could be proud of, but any hopes Ireland may have had of a quieter end to the innings were emphatically dashed.
In the early stages of the chase, Dale Steyn and company were in no mood for messing around. Steyn, in his 100th ODI - notably spread over a near 10-year career which shows how he has been managed and also how South Africa's one-day schedule is not as prolific as others - pushed up the speedgun in a four-over opening spell.
He found the edge of Paul Stirling although, as with de Kock earlier in the day, DRS was needed to remove the batsman and he also had Joyce taken at slip when he edged a full one having been pinned back by a bouncer.
Porterfield, after trying to marshal his bowlers amid the batting onslaught, flicked low to midwicket to give Abbott his first. Niall O'Brien was held at first slip, although in Amla's armpit when de Kock dived across, and Gary Wilson was trapped on the crease. He later returned to have Kevin O'Brien taken at deep square leg although may remain behind Philander in a fully-fit pecking order.
The result leaves just two unbeaten sides in the tournament - New Zealand and India - while the heavy nature of the defeat means six points may not be enough for Ireland to progress.