South Africa maintained their unbeaten record at the World Twenty20 with a 20-run Super Eights win over the West Indies at the Oval here on Saturday.
West Indies, chasing 184 to win, were given hope by Lendl Simmons’s brilliant innings of 77, which came off just 50 balls with a six and 12 fours.
But when he holed out to left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe his side were 133 for five off the last ball of the 16th over.
Victory was all but sealed on the next ball when fast bowler Dale Steyn removed Ramnaresh Sarwan.
Teenage left-arm quick Wayne Parnell took four wickets for 13 runs, including two in four balls to remove openers Andre Fletcher and Chris Gayle.
South Africa were on course for a huge total while Herschelle Gibbs (55) and all-rounder Jacques Kallis (45) and Gibbs were at the crease.
But they lost five wickets for 34 runs in 25 balls on a
typically good Oval batting pitch, accompanied by a fast outfield, to finish on 183 for seven.
Fast bowler Jerome Taylor, whose second over cost 16 runs, fought back well to finish with three wickets for 30 runs in his maximum four overs.
”To make 180 was a great effort batting first. We lost our way slightly but it was a good total to post as the West Indies have an experienced batting line-up and they like to chase,” said captain Graeme Smith.
”Simmons had a great knock but we fought hard and pulled them back.”
West Indies captain Chris Gayle said: ”We didn’t get the start we wanted when we were chasing a big total and lost two quick wickets, but Simmons played well.”
Parnell’s early double strike left the West Indies 13 for two but Simmons counter-attacked with three fours off Kallis.
Dwayne Bravo, whose unbeaten 66 at Lord’s on Friday led the West Indies to a seven-wicket win over defending champions India, could only manage 19 before he holed out against Van der Merwe.
But two more superb boundaries from Simmons against off-spinner Johan Botha kept the West Indies on course.
Smith and fellow opener Kallis prospered early on against the West Indies quicks.
But spin, as it has so often done at this tournament, yielded a wicket. Left-armer Sulieman Benn troubled Smith before the left-hander steered him straight to Andre Fletcher at point, having made 31 off 18 balls with six fours.
Another 50 stand — between Kallis and Gibbs — kept the runs coming briskly before Kallis holed out off medium-pacer Simmons to Kieron Pollard for a 31-ball 45.
Gibbs pressed on, hoisting Simmons for a huge six over wide long-on. But soon after completing a 33-ball fifty, featuring a six and seven fours, Gibbs exited when he chipped Pollard to Taylor at mid-on.
That left South Africa at 136 for three in the 15th over but the West Indies’ revival saw them fall short of 200.
West Indies complete their Super Eights programme against hosts England at the Oval on Monday with South Africa facing India at Trent Bridge on Tuesday. – AFP