Centuries to Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers shone in an otherwise forgettable batting display, leading the Proteas to a 66-run win on the Duckworth-Lewis method.
Chasing a revised target of 282 in 48 overs, the West Indies reply was characterized by short periods of dominance countered by regular dismissals; eventually bowled out for 215 in the 45th over.
Earlier, Amla and Graeme Smith took South Africa smoothly to 43 when the rain that had delayed the start returned in the sixth over. The break shortened South Africa’s innings by two overs, and shortly after the return to the field Smith Jacques Kallis were back in the pavilion. South Africa, at 57 for 2, weathered a West Indian fight-back through Amla and De Villiers. West Indies did little to further their cause, loose deliveries frequently alleviating pressure at crucial junctures.
The pair used this platform to perfection, and combined to put on 129 for the third wicket. When Amla’s innings ended De Villiers accelerated, taking 13 from a Narsingh Deonarine over and moving into the 80s. JP Duminy was again barraged with the short ball, one of which struck him and left him lying in the crease, and failed to feature for the visitors.
After De Villiers crossed the 100 mark the West Indies finished strongly to peg South Africa back with regular wickets. Amidst this flurry David Miller’s unbeaten 23 ensured South Africa reached a competitive total.
Much like the disjointed innings of the Proteas the West Indies failed to find momentum, and without contributions matching the 129 run stand of Amla and de Villiers, were always going to fall short.
Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo looked to take the match from the visitors after Andre Fletcher fell cheaply; adding 40 in under five overs to fluster the Proteas. Gayle was dropped twice before Ryan McLaren removed Bravo for 15 to break the blossoming partnership. Gayle went down swinging, falling for 45, having top-edged a leg-side heave to Johan Botha at midwicket. This left the West Indies at 69 for 3 in the 13th over, the required run-rate climbing steadily thereafter with Ramnaresh Sarwan and Deonarine, despite a 60 run stand, failing to reach a respectable strike-rate in limited overs cricket.
Kieron Pollard kept hopes of a late fightback with a timely 44. However when he and Denesh Ramdin fell in consecutive overs with the required rate rocketing past 10-an-over, South Africa had sealed the first ODI win of the the tour.
South Africa 280-7 (48 overs)
Hashim Amla 102, AB de Villiers 102, Dwayne Bravo 3-40
West Indies 215 all out (44.1 overs)
Chris Gayle 45, Keiron Pollard 44, Morne Morkel 3-40
South Africa won by 66 runs on the D/L method.
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