West Indies seem to be facing the inevitable after being beaten by South Africa by 67 runs- EXIT. It is sad for the hosts who came into the tournament as a formidable team to win the cup. But their hopes suffered a setback after yesterday’s match.
Batting first, South Africa set a daunting total of 356 in the allotted 50 overs. Opener AB de Villiers who has looked in ominous form in this World Cup slammed a brilliant 146 to take the team to a position of strength. His knock included 12 fours and 5 sixes. The middle order contributed and the only batsmen who didn’t join the run feast was Captain Graeme Smith who was dismissed for 7 runs. Jacques Kallis appeared a rejuvenated batsman as he was belligerent throughout the innings. Appeared to have had an injection of sorts, he scored quickly at almost a run a ball, something that fans don’t associate with Kallis. He punctuated his knock with 6 boundaries and a six.
The Protean innings got the acceleration from wicket keeper Mark Boucher who looked in devastating touch. He scored at a strike rate of more than 200, scoring 52 runs from 23 deliveries. He hit as many as five sixes and only two fours in his knock and made sure that the Proteas put a formidable total on the board.
The Windies openers gave a steady start but Chanderpaul departed early falling prey to Pollock menacing line and length. The batsmen to follow scored at a run a ball but none of them carried through the innings which was quintessential in the prevailing circumstances. Dwayne Smith and Brian Lara both got starts but gave their wicket away after reaching mid twenties and thirties.
Despite the lone heroics of Sarwan who scored a rollicking 92 from 75 balls, the team failed to chase the South African total primarily due to the absence of a partnership. All the players scored including the likes of Darren Powell who struck some lusty blows towards the end but partnership which were vital were either small or absent. The Windies appeared to be under prepared and without a plan to chase a total of this magnitude.
It would be a sad moment for all the West Indian cricket fans to see the team’s exit and also the news of Lara’s retirement from One day internationals.