Windies All But Out
The hosts are all but out of the Caribbean's first World Cup after South Africa completed a convincing victory over West Indies.
AB de Villiers powered South Africa to a crucial Super Eight win over West Indies which leaves the hosts with almost no chance of reaching the semi-finals of the Caribbean's first World Cup.
De Villiers' maiden one-day international hundred led South Africa to their highest total in this competition – and, despite the best efforts of Ramnaresh Sarwan, the hosts had to take too many risks to stay up with the asking rate in pursuit of 356 for four.
The upshot was a 67-run victory at Queen's Park to keep the Proteas on course for a last-four spot – while the Windies' ultra-slim prospects hang on wide-margin successes in their remaining two matches and a series of freakishly favourable results elsewhere.
De Villiers (146) marked his 38th appearance at this level with his first three-figure score, sharing a stand of 170 in 29 overs with Jacques Kallis (81).
The second-wicket pair joined forces at 21 for one and laid the platform for some astounding late hitting from Mark Boucher and Herschelle Gibbs.
West Indies therefore needed to bring off a tournament record run chase – and even a defiant Sarwan (92) was unable to hint at a credible challenge, in the absence of significant support.
South Africa showed what could be done on a flat pitch and small ground, having been put in.
De Villiers found the boundaries more and more regularly – 12 fours and five sixes – despite having to bat with a runner because of severe cramp, suffering pain playing most shots through the last six overs of his stay.
Daren Powell and Corey Collymore had exerted a degree of control with the new ball, to the extent that South Africa were on just 36 for the loss of their captain at the 10-over mark.
Graeme Smith's attempt to knock Collymore off target resulted only in an edge behind as he eyed up a big shot from down the wicket.
Clips into the on side and big hits over the off soon helped Kallis and De Villiers add pace to South Africa's innings, however.
Kallis, hampered by discomfort in his left ankle, might have gone caught behind on 40 had Denesh Ramdin managed to cling on standing up when Dwayne Bravo got one to bounce.
De Villiers would twice have been short of his ground in the thirties going for quick singles if Chris Gayle or Devon Smith had managed to pick up cleanly and throw down the wickets.
Kallis could also easily have been run out too – slow starting for a single on 48 – but again the stumps stayed intact as Bravo threw from cover.
The number three reached his half-century having hit five fours and a six – only to manage just one more boundary, before being bowled making room to drive Gayle.
But De Villiers upped the ante with four sixes from five balls faced at one stage, off the spin of Gayle and Sarwan.
When the opener finally fell, chipping his 128th ball to short fine-leg off Collymore, Brian Lara at last had to take his long-delayed final powerplay.
Gibbs (61 not out) and Boucher (52) took advantage with eight sixes and six fours between them, the wicketkeeper smashing his way to a 22-ball half-century and a mammoth 134 runs resulting from the last 10 overs.
The Windies reply hit a near-immediate snag when Shivnarine Chanderpaul fell to a tame drive at Shaun Pollock into the hands of mid-off.
A hectic stand followed between Gayle and Smith, and there was 65 on the board by the 11th over when the latter fell to an aerial cut off Andre Nel.
Gayle went in the next over, run out by a direct hit from Ashwell Prince after calling for a single to mid-wicket.
Sarwan and Lara did not panic, though, in a stand of 50 which ended when the captain chopped on off Kallis – leaving his chief adjutant needing to play a heroic innings.
That was still more true when Bravo pulled Pollock to be athletically caught in the ring, one-handed above his head by Gibbs.
Teenage debutant Kieron Pollard aimed across Kallis and was bowled middle-stump, then Ramdin chipped a simple catch to midwicket off Smith.
Sarwan was therefore left with the tail and, although he operated at a better strike rate than De Villiers, he had much too much to do on his own.
He hit 10 fours and a six from only 75 balls, eventually holing out to mid-off from the bowling of Makhaya Ntini in the 39th over of a match which had long been reduced to nothing more than optimistic accumulation of net run rate.
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