In the tournament’s first big match played at New Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, AB De Villers struck an unconquered 107 to help SA record a 7-wicket victory over the West Indies.
Captain Graeme Smith’s old-fashioned move to introduce the bowling attack with spinner John Botha, produced the instant results as the proteas saw off the dangerous WI opener Chris Gayle for just 2 runs in the very first over of the WI innings. Smith’s move reminisces the 1992 World Cup match in which New Zealand’s Martin Crowe came up with a similar strategy to open the bowling attack with off spinner Deepak Patel.
However, the rising star of the WI batting, Darren Bravo played a champion knock of 73 to raise the Windies’ hopes of posting a competent total on the board. At this juncture, Imran Tahir, SA’s debutant leg-spinner’s arrival swung the momentum strongly in favour of South Africa, as he weaved magic with four prized wickets to dent the possibility of Windies making any substantial score.
Senior batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan failed to make any impact with the bat as he got dismissed for mere 2 runs. Dwayne Bravo, older brother of Darren Bravo played a cameo innings runs. The much hyped batsman, Kieron Pollard did not trouble the scorers as he failed to open the account. The other successful bowler for South Afric was fast bowler Dale Steyn, who bagged 3 wickets for just 24 runs. Finally, WI was restricted to 222 by the SA attack.
WI captain Darren Sammy too made similar ploy to open the bowling with off spinner Suleman Benn earned the wicket of in-form SA opener Hashim Amla for 15 runs. Jacques Kallis, playing his first ODI in 2011, after having missed the home ODI series against owing to injury, lasted just 5 balls.
South Africa’s most entertaining batsman in ODIs, De Villers, unperturbed by the fall of Jacques’ wicket, showed great composure to enable his team to coast to victory with out any further problems. JP Duminy(42 NO) was the able partner for De Villers.
Left with an inadequate total of 222 to defend, WI’s miseries were compounded as its reliable all-rounder Dwayne Bravo got injured in his follow through in the second over bowled by him.
WI next plays the Netherlands at the same venue on 28th Feb while South Africa’s match against the Netherlands is scheduled on 3rd March at Mohali.