Proteas Race To Victory
South Africa booked their place in the Super Eight with a crushing seven-wicket victory over Scotland in Group A at Warner Park.
South Africa booked their place in the World Cup Super Eight by racing to victory over Scotland with seven wickets and almost 27 overs to spare in their Group A match at Warner Park.
Captain Graeme Smith bludgeoned 91 as his team charged past the highest total in Scotland's cup history with embarrassing ease.
Scotland must have hoped they could make South Africa work a little harder for the runs, after Dougie Brown had helped them to a hard-working 186 for eight.
Stand-in captain Ryan Watson appeared capable of putting them on course for 200 or more – until he was run out by a direct hit from AB de Villiers, responding to a call for a sharp single from Brown.
But the Warwickshire all-rounder made up in part for any culpability by seeing the innings through.
He and John Blain put on 50 handy runs between the 39th and 48th overs – and then Paul Hoffmann heaved 18 from only 10 balls.
The above nonetheless always had the look of an academic preamble, and so it proved as Smith and de Villiers' opening stand of 134 in just 15 overs virtually finished the contest.
After Scotland had been put in on a good pitch this morning, their own opening pair Fraser Watts and Majid Haq provided some early encouragement.
Watts notably dispatched Makhaya Ntini over midwicket for six with a front-foot pull, as Scotland began to look the part after being put in on a good pitch.
The running between the wickets was less than assured throughout, though, and both openers had needless close calls early on.
It was South Africa's change bowlers who made the breakthroughs, Andrew Hall and then Charl Langeveldt each striking in his first over.
Haq rather hung out his bat to be caught behind off Hall, and three overs later Watts went after a ball from Langeveldt only to edge to slip.
That left some urgent repair work required of Watson and Gavin Hamilton – and the former England all-rounder could not supply it, mistiming a routine catch to cover off Hall.
Watson also lost Neil McCallum, who struggled 21 balls for one run before being yorked by Langeveldt.
The captain was particularly strong square on the offside off the back foot but was cut off in his prime – and after his departure, Scotland had to reassess what was possible.
Colin Smith helped Brown take the total into three figures, before he was bowled aiming across a ball from Shaun Pollock which was not short enough for the shot.
But with Ntini off the pitch and unable to bowl just the last of his 10 overs because of cramp, Brown was able to take a minor opportunity for Scotland.
He finished with a deserved top score of 45 not out from 64 balls, as 55 runs came from the final five overs.
Sadly, his efforts made little difference to the outcome.
It did not help that Watson put down two tough chances off Blain, to reprieve first de Villiers and then Smith.
There was therefore no breathing space for Scotland, who had called on all their frontline bowling options by the 12th over.
De Villiers (62) chased Smith hard to his 50, but the captain got there comfortably first – hitting 10 fours in 36 balls.
When his opening partner ticked off the milestone in 41 deliveries, he decided to go aerial in celebration – hitting two sixes off Glenn Rogers before holing out in the deep in the same over from the slow left-armer.
The only real consternation for South Africa came when heavy rain moved in, with one more over still required to be bowled to make them winners on Duckworth-Lewis.
The prospect of them being left high and dry did not last long, though, as the rain cleared after 15 minutes.
Although Ashwell Prince and Smith both went to chips into the ring before the job was finished, Justin Kemp completed proceedings with a six over long-on off Rogers.
Both teams observed a minute's silence before the match and wore black armbands, in memory of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer who died two days ago.
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