AB de Villiers put on a batting masterclass to steer South Africa to a five wicket victory in the fourth ODI against the West Indies in Durban.
The relative ease with which the Proteas managed to chase down a competitive 263, said much about the state of the tourists but more about the hostsâ€™ confidence in their formulae in ODI cricket. There always seems to be a match winner, whether with bat or ball and this time De Villiers took his moment in the spotlight.
The youngster was in typically destructive mood, driving, whipping or hooking anything that was remotely imperfect. Credit also has to go to captain Graeme Smith, whose 37-ball 50 helped lay the foundation for victory, while JP Duminy (44) once again showed that he is at home on the international stage, sharing a 99-run fifth wicket stand with De Villiers.
The Proteas began brilliantly with Graeme Smith continuing his good form smashing his third half century of the series. He succumbed shortly after, though, blazing a half tracker to midwicket.
With the score at 77 after 12 overs, the hard work had been done, but when Jacques Kallis sliced a drive to backward point, the West Indies had the upper hand. Herschelle Gibbs (39) had just found his stride before an inside edge flicked his leg stump, leaving AB de Villiers and set about salvaging a result for the hosts.
He did so with a roughhouse class before falling to a Ricardo Powell slower ball.
Fittingly, though, it was Shaun Pollock (21*) who hit the winning runs. Kingsmead was littered with banners of support for the retiring all rounder and they gave him a rousing and emotional send-off befitting a hero.
Earlier Jerome Taylor flayed the Proteas bowlers at the death to give his side hope of a consolation victory. The Proteas will look back and lament a 50-run last wicket partnership between Taylor (43*) and Fidel Edwards. Taylor was particularly brutal in Makhaya Ntini, who went for in excess of eight runs per over, including a 24-run last over nightmare.
The foundation was laid by Brenton Parchment (48) and Sivnarene Chattergoon (48) who put up 97, but it seemed that none of the Windies batters could contribute anything similar. The Proteasâ€™ bowlers were generally disciplined and excellent ground and air fielding restricted the Windies for the majority of the innings.
Jerome Taylor, however, launched a couple of lusty blows at the death of the innings to transform what looked like being a mediocre total to one that took some chasing.
West Indies 263-9 (50 overs)
Brenton Parchment (48), Sivnarene Chattergoon (48), Jerome Taylor 43, Andre Nel 2-40, Shaun Pollock 1-38
South Africa – 266/5 (47.5 overs)
AB De Villiers 77, Graeme Smith 50, JP Duminy 44
South Africa won by five wickets
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