AB de Villiers struck a confident 77 while Shaun Pollock bid an emotional home town farewell as South Africa beat the West Indies by five wickets at Kingsmead on Friday to maintain a perfect record in the one-day series.
Pollock, playing in his last match on his home ground before retiring after Sunday’s final match in Johannesburg, delighted a capacity crowd by hitting the winning boundary to seal South Africa’s win with 13 balls to spare in the fourth one-day international.
South Africa faced a bigger-than-expected target after an unbeaten last-wicket stand of 57 between Jerome Taylor and Fidel Edwards lifted the West Indies to a competitive total of 263 for nine.
But captain Graeme Smith got South Africa off to a fast start, hammering 50 off 37 balls and dominating an opening stand of 77 with Herschelle Gibbs.
There was a brief wobble as Smith was caught at midwicket immediately after reaching his half-century and Jacques Kallis went for a single in the next over.
Gibbs followed for 39 with the total on 118, but De Villiers and JP Duminy put South Africa firmly on the way to victory with a fourth-wicket stand of 99 before Duminy was caught at wide long-on for 44.
De Villiers fell with 34 still needed, but veterans Pollock and Mark Boucher steered South Africa home.
West Indian captain Dwayne Bravo, back in action as a bowler after suffering a side strain during the second Test four weeks ago, showed up the waywardness of some of his other bowlers by taking the wickets of Gibbs and Duminy for 31 runs in 8.5 overs.
The West Indies failed to take full advantage of their best opening partnership of the series after winning the toss in ideal batting conditions.
Inexperienced duo Brenton Parchment and Sewnarine Chattergoon put on 97 for the first wicket and the West Indies seemed set for a big total on a good pitch in scorchingly hot weather, but home-town favourite Pollock broke the stand and the tourists slid to 206 for nine in the 45th over.
Pollock had the left-handed Chattergoon caught behind for 48 and Parchment followed for the same score two overs later when he was leg-before to Andre Nel.
Despite a hard-hit 38 off 24 balls by Patrick Browne, playing in only his second one-day international, the West Indies were unable to build any other substantial partnerships until Taylor and Edwards came together.
Taylor smashed 43 not out off 21 balls, while Edwards was undefeated on 12. Taylor, with a previous highest one-day international score of 13, was especially severe on Makhaya Ntini, hitting the fast bowler for two successive sixes, including one off a full toss that was no-balled for being over waist height.
Ntini, recalled to the South African team after missing the previous five one-day matches, conceded 44 runs off his last two overs, including 24 off the final over of the innings, and had figures of one for 80 from nine overs.
Pollock bowled with his usual economy to take one for 38 from 10 overs. — Sapa-AFP