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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

South Africa's batting dominates West Indies

At St George's Grenada in a high scoring game South Africa defeated West Indies by 67 runs. Once the Proteas had amassed 4/356 (AB deVilliers 146/130b, Jaques Kallis 81/86b, Herschelle Gibbs 61 no /40b, Mark Boucher 52/23b) a West Indies victory looked improbable, yet they had no option but to give it a go, which they did, thanks chiefly to Ramnaresh Sarwan's 92/75b. When he was out from the first ball of the 39th over, it was 8/213 and effectively game over, but some biffing by the tail, including Daren Powell's 48 no /36b (which did something to offset his bowling figures of 10 - 0 - 78 - 0) took the total to 9/289.

The result means that the West Indies won't go beyond the Super Eights stage (I'll stand by that notwithstanding that the estimable S Rajesh on Cricinfo has explained that it's still theoretically possible). Tonight on the TV highlights Brian Lara apologised to his team's supporters (who seemed to have turned out in reasonable numbers) for not doing better. They have yet to play Bangladesh and England so may still have some influence on who plays in the semi-finals, but they will be disappointed at their own inconsistency (and perhaps,as the Cricinfo Bulletin comments,
some odd decisions off and on the field).

South Africa's batting and (as the TV highlights showed) fielding are very good. The pace attack, which now seems to be built around the similarities of Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Andre Nel and Andrew Hall, did enough to hold the West Indies at bay; but the spin bowling still looks thin. Sure Graham Smith took 2/56, but from 5 overs!

Once again S Rajesh and HR Gopalakrishna have provided an excellent statistical analysis for Cricinfo.
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