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26 February 2024

High-scoring South Africa thump Ireland

By Cricket Correspondent and Agencies

South Africa put one foot in the World Cup quarter-finals by batting past the 400-run mark for the second successive match to hand Ireland a thumping defeat by 201 runs with five overs to spare at Manuka Oval on Tuesday.

Hashim Amla hit his highest one-day score with a majestic 159 and Faf du Plessis grabbed a century to drive the Proteas to 411 for four before Ireland, despite some stiff resistance from their middle and lower orders, were dismissed for 210.

The Irish were unbeaten in the tournament coming into this Pool B clash but were simply outclassed in all departments by the in-form South Africans, who crushed West Indies by 257 runs in Sydney on Friday.

That victory had been set up by AB de Villiers' 162 in a total of 408 for five but on Tuesday it was opener Amla who led the way as South Africa fell just two runs short of the World Cup record innings tally.

The record would surely have fallen had Irish off-spinner Andy McBrine not removed Amla and de Villiers (24), the two top-ranked batsmen in the world, in three balls in the 42nd over.

Amla had been dropped on 10 and should have been run out on 104 but otherwise batted with his trademark calmness and at one stage it looked like he would match Chris Gayle's double century on the same pitch last Tuesday.

As measured as his captain de Villiers is explosive, Amla reached his 20th one-day century at a run-a-ball in a partnership of 247 with Du Plessis - a record second-wicket stand for South Africa.

The 31-year-old's 159 came off 128 balls and he had hit 16 fours and four sixes by the time he holed out to Ed Joyce in the deep, 36 overs after the former England batsman had dropped him at midwicket off Kevin O'Brien's first delivery.

Amla has scored his 20 one-day centuries in fewer innings than any other batsman, taking 108 knocks compared to the 133 it took India's Virat Kohli to reach the mark.

Du Plessis made his 109 from as many balls for his fourth ODI century, while Rilee Rossouw confirmed his fine form with a second successive quickfire innings of 61.

Ireland's renown as a side capable of chasing big targets was always going to be sorely tested by a South African bowling unit led by Dale Steyn, who took 2-39 in his 100th one-day international.

The paceman, bowling at speeds approaching the 150 kph mark, picked up two early wickets and Kyle Abbott pitched in with three to reduce Ireland to 48-5 in the 11th over.

Andrew Balbirnie and Kevin O'Brien stopped the rot with a 81-run partnership that ended when the former was caught in the deep by Rossouw off Morne Morkel for 58.

O'Brien batted on as de Villiers gave all but three of the team a bowl but departed for 48 when Abbott (4-21) returned to claim his first four-wicket haul in one-day internationals.


South Africa

Hashim Amla c Joyce b McBrine 159
Q. de Kock c Wilson b Mooney 1
F. du Plessis b K. O'Brien 109
AB de Villiers c N. O'Brien b McBrine 24
D. Miller not out 46
R. Rossouw not out 61
Extras: (b1, w7, nb3) 11
Total (4 wkts, 50 overs) 411
Did not bat: Farhaan Behardien, Dale Steyn, Kyle Abbott, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir
Fall of wickets: 1-12 (de Kock), 2-259 (du Plessis), 3-299 (Amla), 4-301 (de Villiers).
Bowling: Mooney 7-2-52-1 (2nb, 1w); Sorensen 6-0-76-0 (1nb, 6w); K. O'Brien 7-0-95-1; Dockrell 10-0-56-0; Stirling 10-0-68-0; McBrine 10-0-63-2;


W. Porterfield c du Plessis b Abbott 12
P. Stirling c de Kock b Steyn 9
E. Joyce c Amla b Steyn 0
N. O'Brien c Amla b Abbott 14
A. Balbirnie c Rossouw b Morkel 58
G. Wilson lbw b Abbott 0
K. O'Brien c Rossouw b Abbott 48
J. Mooney b de Villiers 8
G. Dockrell b Morkel 25
M. Sorensen c De Kock b Morkel 22
A. McBrine not out 2
Extras: (lb3, w9) 12
Total (all out, 45 overs) 210
Fall of wickets
: 1-17 (Stirling), 2-21 (Porterfield), 3-21 (Joyce), 4-42 (N. O'Brien), 5-48 (Wilson), 6-129 (Balbirnie), 7-150 (Mooney), 8-167 (K. O'Brien), 9-200 (Sorensen), 10-210 (Dockrell)
Bowling: Steyn 8-0-39-2; Abbott 8-0-21-4 (1w); Morkel 9-0-34-3 (3w); Tahir 10-1-50-0; Behardien 2-0-13-0; Rossouw 2-0-13-0; Du Plessis 4-0-30-0 (5w); De Villiers 2-0-7-1;

Result: South Africa won by 201 runs

Toss: South Africa
Umpires: Steve Davis (AUS), Ranmore Martinesz (SRI)
TV umpire: Ian Gould (ENG)
Match referee: Roshan Mahanama (SRI)




Ireland go into Tuesday's World Cup clash against South Africa in Canberra faced with a question that even fanciful Test nations have struggled to find an answer for.

How does one tame the rampaging AB de Villiers before he destroys the rivals' bowling attack, dents their morale and leaves them dumbstruck by what just hit them?

The West Indies once more suffered at the hands of the South African captain who, despite a stomach illness, smashed an audacious 162 off 66 balls with 17 boundaries and eight sixes in Sydney on Friday to fashion a 257-run win.

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It was against the same team that de Villers smashed the fastest one-day century off 31 balls at home in January, prompting former Australian dasher Adam Gilchrist to call him the "most valuable cricketer on the planet."

The Proteas, one of the pre-tournament favourites, needed the brutal attack by their 31-year-old captain to steady the ship after they were stunned by India by 130 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground a week ago.

De Villiers was run out for 30 in that match by a brilliant throw from the deep by Mohit Sharma, which must make Ireland wonder if that is the only way to see the back of him.

But the proud Irish, whose cricket has developed rapidly under their West Indies coach Phil Simmons, will look to run the mighty Proteas closely after winning their first two games in the tournament.

Ireland chased down a challenging West Indies total of 304-7 at Nelson with four wickets and 25 balls to spare on the back of half-centuries from Paul Stirling (92), Ed Joyce (84) and Niall O'Brien (79 not out).

Simmons, the former West Indies opening batsman, insisted the result was not an upset because his team was now capable of matching skills with the more established teams.

"It excited me the way we played against the West Indies," said Simmons. "They played four fast bowlers, thinking we would not be able to cope with the speed. It's the best I've seen the team play and it augurs well for the future."

Ireland overcame wayward bowling in their next game in Brisbane to allow the United Arab Emirates to pile up 278-9, but the batsman kept their nerve to win in the final over with the ninth-wicket pair at the crease.

If other results go their way, even one win from their four remaining games against South Africa, India, Pakistan and Zimbabwe could see Ireland qualify for the quarter-finals.

However, past records favour South Africa against the Irish, who progressed from the first round in their inaugural appearance at the World Cup in 2007 but were knocked out in the group stages four years later.

Ireland have lost all three one-day internationals against South Africa so far. In their last meeting at the 2011 World Cup at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, the Proteas thumped them by 131 runs.

Still, the Irish can be expected to blast away at the batting friendly Manuka Oval wicket where West Indies opener Chris Gayle hammered a World Cup record score of 215 against Zimbabwe last week.

South Africa's only worry will be the underwhelming form of pace spearhead Dale Steyn, who has claimed just three wickets in the first three games at a high average of 47.66.

With de Villiers' team almost certain to qualify for the knock-out rounds, Steyn will be needed to be at his best if South Africa are to have a shot at their maiden World Cup title.

An unlikely bowling hero for the Proteas is leg-spinner Imran Tahir, whose nine wickets so far is only behind the New Zealand seam duo of Tim Southee (13) and Trent Boult (10) in the leading bowlers' list.

Ireland not overawed

Ireland captain William Porterfield is confident his team will not be overawed by the mighty South Africans in Canberra on Tuesday, saying they had made good plans to contain AB de Villiers' side.

Ireland's hopes will rest largely on how they keep the rival batsmen quiet, especially de Villiers, who smashed an audacious 162 off 66 balls against the West Indies in Sydney last week.

Porterfield admitted it will be a challenge to bowl to the South African captain and other batsmen like Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis, but added the task to contain them was not impossible.

"You can sit all day and talk about him and different theories and plans and whatever, but you've got to stick with your best ball and how you go about things," he said.

"The bowlers have got to back themselves and back the field that's been set. We have individual plans for each of their batters, and hopefully we'll see the back of them early."

Ireland have won both matches so far in the tournament, chasing down the West Indies' 304-7 with four wickets and 25 balls to spare before edging past the United Arab Emirates in a final-over thriller.

If other results go their way, even one win from their four remaining games against South Africa, India, Pakistan and Zimbabwe could see Ireland qualify for the quarter-finals.

Porterfield said his team will take the confidence of those two wins into Tuesday's game.

"South Africa are a great side and we have to be on the money again," he said. "We're taking each game as it comes and it's not going to be any different for tomorrow's game.

"It's about going through the same processes and being in the same mindset and getting yourself prepared for the start of ball one tomorrow."

Porterfield said he was not surprised by the support the associate nations like his have got after the International Cricket Council announced tentative plans to reduce the next World Cup from 14 to 10 teams.

"I think it was always going to be a talking point coming into this tournament," the captain said. "You've got to grow the game and I don't see why it (the World Cup) has to be cut down.

"We are improving, every nation out here is improving. We've just got to go out there and play well to make a statement."

South African all-rounder Farhaan Behardien said his team rated Ireland highly and looked forward to Tuesday's clash.

"Look, every game is a big game and Ireland are not ones to be taken lightly," he said. "We have done a good analysis on them...like we do for every other team."

South Africa have won two of their three games so far and former captain Graeme Smith hoped the bench strength will be tested against both Ireland and UAE.

"I don't foresee either Ireland or the UAE causing too many problems," Smith wrote on the tournament website. "I am certain the entire squad will be given an opportunity to play over these two games also allowing for key players to rest."

Squads and officials:

(from): William Porterfield (capt), Andrew Balbirnie, Peter Chase, Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, Ed Joyce, Andrew McBrine, John Mooney, Kevin O'Brien, Niall O'Brien, Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson, Craig Young.

South Africa (from): AB de Villiers (capt), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Farhaan Behardien, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Kyle Abbott, Wayne Parnell, Aaron Phangiso, Rilee Rossouw.

Umpires: Steve Davis (AUS) and Ranmore Martinesz (SRI)
TV umpire: Ian Gould (ENG)
Match referee: Roshan Mahanama (SRI)
Weather forecast: Cloudy with chance of shower. Maximum temperature of 27 Celsius.