South Africa 179 for 7 (Dippenaar 83) beat West Indies 163 (Pollock 4-26) by 16 runs
South Africa completed a 16-run win over West Indies, thanks in part to Boeta Dippenaar's delightfully paced 83, and a devastating opening spell of 3 for 15 from Shaun Pollock. But West Indies contributed greatly to their downfall too, contriving three awful run outs, all to key batsmen, on a slow Port Elizabeth pitch where runs were at a premium.
A remarkable last-wicket stand of 37 between Ravi Rampaul and Corey Collymore had South Africa looking decidedly nervous, but it will have made Brian Lara, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Ridley Jacobs rue their inept running all the more.
Asked to bowl first by Graeme Smith, the West Indies bowlers had built a good platform on which to erase memories of their dismal defeat in the opening ODI in Cape Town, restricting South Africa to just 179 for 7 in their 50 overs.
However, Pollock soon wrestled the initiative back in South Africa's favour. First he trapped Shivnarine Chanderpaul lbw, then tempted Chris Gayle into chasing a wide one, for Boeta Dippenaar to take a spectacular catch at first slip, before dismissing Ricardo Powell lbw, as he tried to turn a straight one to leg (29 for 3).
Lara and Sarwan consolidated and their partnership of 29 was looking promising until Lara ran himself out straight after a drinks break (58 for 4), pushing a ball to Jacques Rudolph at mid-off, who swooped down, gathered quickly and decimated the stumps at the non-striker's end, with Lara some way short.
The onus now rested on Sarwan to guide his team home, but he fell to more unerring South African fielding (74 for 5). Mark Boucher, the wicketkeeper, scampered to leg, and his direct hit at the non-striker's end forced Sarwan to continue his dawdle straight back to the pavilion.
Dwayne Smith briefly raised West Indian hopes with some expansive strokeplay but fell lbw to Jacques Kallis for 24, shortly before more hapless running between the wickets led to Ridley Jacobs's departure (104 for 7). He suicidally chose to take on Herschelle Gibbs at mid-on, and Andre Nel completed the formalities. With him went West Indian hopes, despite some lusty hitting from Merv Dillon, who hit Kallis clean out of the ground. South Africa were beginning to fret a little as that last-wicket partnership developed, but the 19-year-old Rampaul eventually chipped a low return catch to Lance Klusener for 24.
Earlier, Dippenaar had held South Africa's innings together with a delightful 83, full of patience and placement. His late partnership with Shaun Pollock (26) edged South Africa towards what proved to be a winning total. During his innings Pollock became the fastest all-rounder to reach 2000 ODI runs and 250 wickets.
At the start of the game all eyes had been on Jacques Kallis and his bid to score a sixth hundred in consecutive matches. But Rampaul, who didn't take a single wicket in 26 overs against Zimbabwe last year, claimed his first ODI scalp in his very first over today - and the prize one at that.
Smith and his opening partner Gibbs had both perished quickly as Dillon and Collymore made good use of windy, overcast conditions. Gibbs (10) was the first to go, dabbling a simple catch to Chanderpaul at short midwicket off the bowling of Dillon (15 for 1). Six runs later Smith (9) was clean bowled playing all around one that straightened from Collymore.
Rampaul had already hurried Kallis with a ball that climbed unexpectedly, before Kallis mis-timed a pull to deep backward leg (57 for 3), where Collymore had to wait an awful long time for the steepling ball to come down. Kallis, who had been suffering from flu before the game, didn't get off the mark for 11 balls, and took 44 to make his 16 runs.
Kallis's departure was quickly followed by that of Rudolph (14), caught in the deep by Rampaul off Gayle's offspin, and Boucher (5) who weakly lobbed a catch back to Ryan Hurley (110 for 5).
Pollock came in ahead of Lance Klusener, and injected a welcome acceleration to the innings in a vital 54-run partnership with Dippenaar. In particular, he made hay through the on side, smacking 14 runs off one Hurley over. However, Collymore (10-2-25-3), the pick of the bowlers, returned to make a mess of Pollock's stumps (164 for 6) and Dippenaar, who faced 123 balls and hit eight fours, perished in the last over, going down on one leg to hoist the ball to Sarwan at deep backward square leg (177 for 7).
After their trouncing on Sunday, West Indies were no doubt delighted that their bowlers shackled the South African batsmen, and their fielding was vastly improved too. But any hopes they had of levelling the series were destroyed by Pollock and their batsmen's abject failure to preserve their wickets in a low-scoring game. Criminally, West Indies were dismissed with more than seven overs of their allocation still to be bowled.