Amla strikes again

Hashim Amla fell just eight runs short of his second consecutive ODI century, steering the Proteas to 300-5; proving 17 too many for the West Indies.

South African may have been a touch conservative, but methodically the tourists advanced to an imposing position. Amla’s 92 (from 95 balls) gave the South African innings much needed impetus, and in combination with Smith’s 37, set a solid foundation before Smith fell in the sixteenth, the Proteas 89-1. Amla worked the ball around with total ease, progressing serenely past 50 quicker than a run a ball.

Kallis became only the second South African, after Shaun Pollock, to play 300 ODIs and he and Amla anchored the innings. South Africa went nine overs without a boundary, but Amla and Kallis still managed to go at almost a run a ball. Amla fell softly, clipping a full delivery to short midwicket, AB de Villiers to the crease with the score at 168-2 in the 32nd.

De Villiers pummeled the West Indies with some big hitting, and supported by Kallis (85 from 89) put on 71 in just over 10 overs. The Batting Powerplay, taken in the 41st over, signaled South Africa’s opportunity to surge past anything chaseable, but Bravo bowled a supreme over, before Kieron Pollard had de Villiers out caught on the long-on boundary.

37 runs later Kallis fell, followed 2 runs later by Alviro Peterson (for one). However Miller again underlined his promise with an unbeaten 26 off 19 balls, featuring two big sixes to lift the total to 300.

Chris Gayle lifted West Indies’ hopes with a couple of crunching blows early on, but when he fell to Morne Morkel the West Indies’ depth (or lack thereof) appeared exposed. Ramnaresh Sarwan pulled a hamstring running a sharp single, leaving West Indies without another senior batsman.

The West Indies’ middle order were chocked by their own inability to work singles. The contrast with Amla and Kallis was crystal clear. Narsingh Deonarine chipped Tsotsobe tamely to mid on, leaving Dale Richards (51 from 85) the mainstay.

Richards shared a useful partnership Bravo, but never flowed. His dismissal brought Kieron Pollard to the wicket with the West Indies chase needing a big-hitting spectacle. When the Batting Powerplay was taken in the 36th over, West Indies needed 9.53 an over and Pollard ended up skying Steyn soon after to be smartly caught by Johan Botha tearing in off the long-on boundary.

Bravo set an example for his team-mates to follow. His 74 came quicker than a run a ball but featured just three fours. He ran superbly and almost laid the foundations for an unexpected victory. When Sarwan returned to the field and fell first ball the game looked as good as done, but Darren Sammy had other ideas.

Having slipped to 236 for 8 in the 45th over, still 65 short of their target, Sammy launched six sixes and two fours on his way to 50 from 20 balls (the fastest by a West Indian batsman). He took the equation to 18 needed off 13 but successive run outs sealed a South African win, which had looked a formality for almost the whole game.

South Africa 300-5 (50 overs)
Hashim Amla 92, Jacques Kallis 85, Keiron Pollard 2-39
West Indies 283 all out (48.1 overs)
Dwayne Bravo 74, Darren Sammy 58*, Morne Morkel 3-58
South Africa won by 17 runs

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