Hashim Amla’s 129, his second century of the ODI series, set the platform for the Proteas as they edged past the 303-6 set by the West Indies.
Amla’s innings was impressive; only 30 of his runs in boundaries when he crossed the 100 mark, but his 129 still coming from 115 balls. Graeme Smith (23 from 29) was targeted by the hosts; quick fielding and innovative fields (two midwickets The intensity dropped after Smith’s dismissal, but Amla picked off singles with ease to reach 50 from 45 deliveries.
The dominant partner in stands of 59 and 119 with Smith and Jacques Kallis (51 from 54) respectively, Amla continued grafting it out till he neared his century, but his exhaustion became evident. When his 129 came to an end, South Africa needed 80 off nearly 12 overs with seven wickets in hand; a more than manageable ask.
JP Duminy, was scratchy, but De Villiers (57 from 64) kept the Proteas cause afloat. Coupled with West Indian intent (an unusual sight this series) the pair endured a nine over boundary drought. The required rate soared to nine and the pressure mounted. Two dropped catches and an 18-run Kieron Pollard over shifted momentum back in South Africa’s favour. The visitors went into the final over needing 3 to win. Down to the final delivery, De Villiers pushed it to Darren Sammy at short midwicket, who failed to field it quickly.
Earlier, Dale Richards compensated for Chris Gayle’s failure with an attacking innings; plundering runs down the ground for 59; including seven fours and a six. However the South Africans discipline pegged West Indies back, but Shivnarine Chanderpaul (66 from 89) and Dwayne Bravo (46 from 51) grafted rather than capitulating as so often seen this series.
Darren Bravo (45 from 31) and Pollard (26 from 18) gave the innings a punctuated end with a stand of 59. Pollard played some particularly monstrous hits to take the West Indies close to 300. Thought the marked improvement wasn’t enough to undo the Proteas, the second dead rubber (and final ODI) promises to hold greater contest if the hosts continue to improve.
West Indies 303-6 (50 overs)
Shivnarine Chanderpaul 66, Dale Richards 59, Lonwabo Tsotsobe 2-48
South Africa 304-3 (50 overs)
Hashim Amla 129, AB de Villiers 57*, Dwayne Bravo 1-41
South Africa won by seven wickets
For a full scorecard click here.