Friday, February 25, 2011

South Africa lay down marker

South Africa started their World Cup campaign with a confident seven wicket victory over the West Indies in Delhi. AB de Villiers and debutant Imran Tahir were the Protes' stand out performers as South Africa laid down an intimidating marker with a thoroughly professional job.

Leg-spinner Tahir, making his first South Africa, was the main threat to the Pakistan batsmen, finishing with impressive figures of 4-41. West Indies recovered from losing Chris Gayle early to take the score to 113-1, with Devon Smith and Darren Bravo taking the game to South Africa. Johan Both picked up the first of his two wickets with the scalp of Bravo to break the partnership, Tahir quickly picked up the wickets of Smith and Ramnaresh Sarwan to put the West Indies on the back foot and the Cricket World Cup predictions suggested they would struggle to recover.

From their relatively strong position, the West Indies quickly collapsed to 222 all out withTahir and Dale Steyn tearing through the tail to end the innings, the fast bowler finishing with 3-24. South Africa won't have been to worried about reaching their target of 223 but things looked a little worrying when they slumped to 20-2 after Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis went in quick succession and the Cricket World Cup betting tips suggested there was hope.

Graeme Smith's 45 got the innings back on track but it was AB de Villiers who stole the show with a stunning 107 not out at over a run a ball. JP Duminy supported de Villiers to take the South African's over the line with a useful 42 not out.

On this kind of form, South Africa look a very tempting bet to finally lift the World Cup after coming close on numerous occasions. It is going to take a quality side to beat Graeme Smith's intimidating side.

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