Tri-series 2016, Match 9 Review: South Africa choke yet again as West Indies reach the finals

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West Indies
West Indies cricketers celebrate after dismissing South African batsman Chris Morris during the 9th One Day International match of the Tri-nation Series between South Africa and West Indies at the Kensington Oval stadium in Bridgetown on June 24, 2016. (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

It was the virtual knockout match of the tri-series when South Africa battled it out with the hosts West Indies in the penultimate match of the tournament. The equation was simple for the two involved teams – it was to win the match and meet Australia in the finals.

South Africa started poorly in the tournament but got into the groove later on. On the other hand, the West Indies team lost their plot after having started on a high flying note. The last time these two sides met in the series, it was the Protea fire that was too hot to handle for the Caribbean kings. But with everything at stake, this match was bound to be a cracker of a game.

Having won the toss, the South African skipper AB de Villiers had no hesitation in putting the hosts into bat first. The decision proved out to be a spot-on one by AB. His bowlers didn’t let him down as South African pacers ripped apart the West Indies top order. Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher were the West Indies openers as Wayne Parnell shared the new ball with Kagiso Rabada.

The pace was just too good on the day as Wayne Parnell struck early in the 2nd over of the match to remove Fletcher on just 6. In the very next over, Rabada got rid of Johnson Charles to bring in Marlon Samuels to the crease. Samuels, who had hit a wonderful century in the last match against Australia, had a very short stay in the middle today as Rabada knocked over his stumps to send him packing for a golden duck.

This meant that two new batsmen, Darren Bravo and Denesh Ramdin, were at the crease to face the chin music. Rabada was running in well and that was a little too good for Ramdin as he lost his wood work on 4 to leave West Indies reeling at 21/4 by the end of the 5th over. In walked the big man Kieron Pollard as he had a big job to do on the day.

Pollard and Bravo took their time in the middle and saw the new ball through before getting in their groove. Pollard played an uncharacteristic slow innings on the day, but that is what the situation demanded. The two batsmen put on 156 runs in 150 balls for the 5th wicket and in the process, both batsmen reached their half-centuries. It was in the 30th over when Morne Morkel got the better of Pollard and dismissed him on 62 off 71 balls which was studded with 7 fours and a couple of sixes.

Skipper Jason Holder gave ample support to Bravo as the latter brought up his century in style by hitting Chris Morris over the fences in the 35th over. The celebrations didn’t last long as Chris Morris got his wicket soon. He was dismissed on 102 that came off 103 balls with 12 fours and 4 sixes. However, West Indies were now looking at a decent total. Holder’s patient 40 off 46 came to an end in the 46th over.

Meanwhile, Carlos Brathwaite paraded along to take the score past 250 run mark. Wickets tumbled towards the end as Windies were bowled out in 49.5 overs. An unbeaten 33 off 42 saw West Indies finish on 285/10.

South Africa should have done much better in the chase but yet again the Protea fire dwindled in the crunch situation. Opener Quinton de Kock (6) and Hashim Amla (16) were sent packing early in the innings by Shannon Gabriel and Sunil Narine respectively. Faf du Plessis couldn’t do much either and was trapped lbw by Shannon Gabriel on 3. In walked skipper AB de Villiers, but only to be another victim of Gabriel’s fiery spell and head back to the pavilion on 2. JP Duminy (5) and Chris Morris (7) followed the suite and South Africa were left wanting at 65/6 in the 18th over.

Farhaan Behardien and Wayne Parnell then put on 31 for the 7th wicket that rescued South Africa from being bowled out under 100. Behardien’s resistance ended when he was dismissed on 35 by Brathwaite and soon after that, Wayne Parnell lost his wicket after fighting 58 balls for his 28. Rabada’s 9 runs didn’t help the cause either.

The last wicket stand between Imran Tahir (29 off 24 balls) and Morne Morkel (32* off 47 balls) saw 51 runs added before the innings bundled out for 185 as West Indies won the crucial match by 100 runs.

West Indies will now face Australia in the finals of the tri-series.

Brief Scores:

West Indies – 285/10 in 49.5 overs (Bravo 102, Pollard 62, Rabada 3/31, Morris 3/63)

South Africa – 185/10 in 46 overs (Behardien 35, Morkel 32*, Gabriel 3/17, Narine 3/28)

Man of the match: Darren Bravo

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