Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Clippings: South Africa overcome the West Indies

Bridgetown, Barbados
South Africa all but ended the Caribbean cricket carnival with a 67-run World Cup victory over the West Indies that effectively left the locals with no one to support.
By amassing 356 for four, the South Africans silenced home fans knowing their team almost certainly won't be headed for the semifinal, let alone the final in Barbados on April 28.
A fourth heavy loss means that, although captain Brian Lara's team isn't mathematically eliminated, victories over Bangladesh and England probably won't be enough.
Now those US$100 tickets selling for US$25 probably won't be used at all.
``It's a huge blow. In the dressing room the guys aren't in a very good mood at all. A lot of sad faces,'' Lara said. ``But we've got to pick ourselves. As a people, we're hosting the World Cup.
``We're going to be out there trying our best in the last two games and I am sure that the supporters, the West Indians in the crowd are going, I suppose to pick their teams for the finals and support them.
``We are disappointed and we're very sorry the way we have performed over this World Cup. All we can do is say sorry to our people.''
Caribbean fans are left to wonder who will win the title they hoped would go to Lara's team.
New Zealand and defending champion Australia are tied on eight points at the top of the Super 8 standings. Sri Lanka and South Africa, each with six, are also likely to finish in the top four, which would mean semifinal spots.
With two points each, England and Bangladesh are also just about in contention, however, and they meet at Kensington Oval on Wednesday when the championship arrives at Barbados.
Each team has won one game in the Super 8s, England beating last place Ireland and Bangladesh upsetting South Africa. Although England team is favored to win, it knows Bangladesh also upset India in the group stage.
South Africa gave the West Indies plenty of chances in Grenada. It was just that Lara's team didn't take them.
With Herschelle Gibbs already playing through the discomfort of a calf muscle problem that forced him to bat with a runner against Bangladesh, Kallis picked up an injury to his left foot.
And A.B. De Villiers also needed team captain Graeme Smith as his runner when went down with cramp, dehydration and heat exhaustion.
But Lara's team didn't take advantage. The West Indies even handed South Africa four of its first seven runs with wides although it captured the wicket of Smith for seven with 21 on the board.
The South Africans didn't slow down, however. Kallis and De Villiers scored 34 runs off 30 balls to race past 50 before Lara's team threw away at least four chances to break the stand.
Wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin, surprisingly standing up to the medium-fast Dwayne Bravo, failed to hold a catch off Kallis who was on 40. De Villiers went for a risky single while on 34 and was well short of his ground when Chris Gayle swooped for the run out attempt but failed to pick up the ball.
Then the opener darted for another single only for Devon Smith to miss the stumps from 10 meters (yards). Bravo also failed to hit the target with Kallis well short while on 49.
After those letoffs, De Villiers hit Bravo for four and six to bring up his ninth one-day international 50.
The pace never slowed and the two batsmen took the total to 191 when Kallis was bowled by Chris Gayle for 81. The stand of 170 came off 28.2 overs.
De Villiers pushed a single round corner to reach his first century in 38 one-day games and soon after went down with cramp. He needed Smith to act his runner but that didn't slow his aggressive hitting as he struck sixes off spinners Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan. By the time he was out for 146, South Africa was 261 for three after 43.1 overs.
The agony for Lara didn't end there.
The West Indies captain still had a powerplay to use and that meant only two fielders out near the boundary. With every six launched into the stands by Gibbs and Mark Boucher, Lara could see West Indies title chances disappearing into the distance.
The West Indies never even got close to the target, especially after Lara played on to Kallis for 21 to leave his team on 119-4 in the 20th over.
Ramnaresh Sarwan stayed solid to score 92 and tailender Daren Powell hit out for an unbeaten 48 with three sixes.
It was no more than consolation for the West Indies fans, who must find someone else to support at the remaining World Cup games, if they want to go at all.

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