• SA crush Windies

    Rilee Rossouw and Hashim Amla smashed centuries to set up a 131-run win for the Proteas in the fifth ODI at Centurion.

    It’s been a long and largely unsuccessful tour for the West Indies. Apart from Chris Gayle’s heroics in the Twenty20Is, which set up a 2-1 series win, they have been well beaten in the Tests and ODIs.

    The final game of the tour was convincingly won by the hosts. There was little to play for at Centurion, considering South Africa had already clinched the series by winning the first three games. And yet, the Proteas produced some of their best cricket. They will take some momentum and confidence into the World Cup.

    Rain delayed the start of this contest, and the game was reduced to a 42 over a side affair. The West Indies opted to bowl first, but would lose control as the South African innings progressed. The Proteas eventually posted a formidable 361-5, and backed that batting effort up with a relatively good bowling performance.

    It was Rilee Rossouw and Hashim Amla who set the platform for that emphatic batting performance by the Proteas in the second ODI at the Wanderers. On that occasion, both openers scored centuries before AB de Villiers came to the crease and played one of the most unforgettable knocks in limited overs history.

    At Centurion, Rossouw and Amla only came together at the fall of the second wicket. Quinton de Kock, back from an ankle injury, failed, as did No 3 Faf du Plessis.

    Rossouw and Amla worked hard to build the innings in what were testing conditions for the batsmen. There was some significant bounce in the Centurion track, and the clouds hanging over the ground lent the West Indies bowlers further assistance. For a time, it seemed Jason Holder had it got it right when he opted to bowl first.

    Amla was the senior partner and chief aggressor right up to the point where Rossouw reached 50. Thereafter, the rookie savaged the West Indies bowlers, and ensured that the Proteas scored 58 runs in the batting powerplay.

    When Rossouw reached his century, the second of the series as well as his ODI career, he punched the air in elation. At the other end, Amla began to play some expansive strokes, and went on to reach three figures in 92 balls. The pair put on 247 for the third wicket, before Rossouw’s knock of 132 off 98 balls came to an end.

    The target of 362 off 42 overs was always going to be a tough ask. However, what would have encouraged the West Indies was the absence of several experienced Proteas bowlers. Dale Steyn, Morné Morkel, and Imran Tahir were all rested for this match, while Vernon Philander was ruled out with a groin injury.

    But the West Indies falied to take full advantage. Gayle was out first ball chasing a wide Kyle Abbott delivery. Dwayne Smith and Narsingh Deonarine battled through the first 12 overs, but did not keep up with required run rate of 8.59 an over. When both departed in quick succession, the tourists’ chances of victory went with them.

    Marlon Samuels, one of the West Indies’ best batsmen on this tour, went after the South African bowlers in the middle overs. Unfortunately for the visitors, he was bowled by Abbott shortly after reaching his half century.

    While Abbott claimed two wickets, Wayne Parnell was the pick of the Proteas’ bowlers. He was rewarded with four scalps, and would have had a fifth if only JP Duminy held onto a chance in the deep. The dropped catch didn’t cost the Proteas the game, but it did rob Parnell of a well deserved five-wicket haul.

    SA 361-5 in 42 overs (Hashim Amla 133, Rilee Rossouw 132, Andre Russell 3-85)
    WI 230 in 37.4 overs  (Marlon Samuels 50, Narsingh Deonarine 43, Wayne Parnell 4-41, Kyle Abbott 2-59)
    South Africa won by 131 runs

    Click here for full scorecard

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