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48th over: South Africa 364-4 (de Villiers 127, Behadien 1)
12 fours and three sixes in his innings as de Villiers lofts Holder over long on for six to bring up his hundred. The second-fastest in World Cups after Kevin O’Brien’s 50-ball effort against England. It’s been brutal, clinical, brilliant. That six came after the first ball went through long-on for four. That six also came off a no-ball.
47th over: South Africa 330-4 (de Villiers 95, Behadien 1)
It was the same again before that wicket. Russell went wide outside off, de Villiers did the shuffle and kneel and sweep routine again. This once bounced inside the rope, but he did only hit it with one hand. Miller was dismissed two balls later. Farhaan Behardien walks out, hands the strike back to de Villiers, but he can only get a single that would have seen him run out by five yards had the throw from cover hit.
What a catch! That’s lazy and spectacular and beautiful – Miller lofts to long on, Taylor runs around the rope, then casually extends one hand and snares the ball without a worry. His foot nearly kicks the boundary rope but it doesn’t, and he runs back in as Russell drops to his knees and salaams in worship at the effort. Holder? The captain just burst out laughing.
46th over: South Africa 323-3 (de Villiers 89, Miller 20)
Miller is doing well: two, two, two. Though really he should just be getting AB on strike. Holder is bowling very wide and full. He gets away with one that Miller misses, but is called for one a couple of inches wider. Then another two, down the ground, then…
45th over: South Africa 312-3 (de Villiers 89, Miller 10)
Bloody hell. There’s that shot again, the one de Villiers kept playing in that hundred in SA recently. The one where he goes well outside his off stump, kneels down and ramps six over fine leg. The one where he seems to know, to have a premonition, when the bowler is going to aim full and wide, and he so panics them with his movement that they send it at full-toss height.
44th over: South Africa 299-3 (de Villiers 78, Miller 8)
Four, four. Benn bowling and de Villiers sweeps one along the ground past short fine, and one on the scoop over him. He’s on for a ton here. Then they go single, two, wide, dot, single. Miller couldn’t get Benn away as easily as his captain. 13 from the over nonetheless.
43rd over: South Africa 286-3 (de Villiers 69, Miller 5)
Russell produces the rare gryphon of an economical over. Ones and twos only, six from it. David Miller has five from four balls. Purring start.
Finally some relief for West Indies. A big outside edge as Rossouw advances and drives, and Ramdin moved well to hold on.
42nd over: South Africa 280-3 (Rossouw 61, de Villiers 68)
Nothing to be done. Nowhere to hide. Rossouw drives Benn through cover for four, de Villiers swats him behind square. Another 11 from that over.
41st over: South Africa 269-3 (Rossouw 55, de Villiers 63)
Comparatively, an icy calm descends over the ground as Andre Russell takes up the ball. Single, dot, two, dot.
40th over: South Africa 258-3 (Rossouw 54, de Villiers 53)
It’s carnage here. It’s an activist slaughterhouse video. Benn comes on, two singles as sighters, then de Villiers cuts six over cover, pulls four through midwicket, then cuts four behind point. Two more driven through cover to end things at 18 from the over.
39th over: South Africa 240-3 (Rossouw 53, de Villiers 36)
Taylor nearly runs out Rossouw after a quick single from the first ball of Taylor’s over, then it all comes apart. An overthrow from the next ball, a wide that the keeper can’t take cleanly and ends up costing three, then Taylor drags very short and wide and Rossouw plays an extraordinary shot, mid-air leaping at that ball and somehow still cutting it way over backward point for six. Both feet tucked up behind him as he struck it. That’s ridiculous. 16 from the over after two from the last ball. Taylor coming apart. West Indies coming apart. The innings is gone already, now it’s just down to whether they can manage a big-hitting Gayle chase.
@GeoffLemonSport Is the best thing about a 43-day world cup how many times we get to hear somebody say the name ‘Faf du Plessis’?
38th over: South Africa 224-3 (Rossouw 42, de Villiers 34)
Rossouw has 40 from 26 so de Villiers just wants to give him the strike. Holder has bowled tightly all day though, and his first three balls only go for singles. He loses it thereafter, a low full toss that de Villiers puts away straight. Then a really good wide yorker that is nonetheless driven through cover for four. Maybe it was six inches overpitched. It’s a hard game.
37th over: South Africa 212-3 (Rossouw 40, de Villiers 24)
Bring back Taylor, they said. Your strike bowler, they said. Two new batsmen at the crease, they said.
36th over: South Africa 194-3 (Rossouw 28, de Villiers 19)
The batting Powerplay now starts, compulsory by the 35th over. Jason Holder comes on to try to keep the runs down. De Villiers swats two to midwicket, then a single down the ground. Rossouw edges a run, AB takes another, then Rossouw gets very mobile in his crease to walk outside his off stump and play down the ground. Again, AB’s running makes it a two. There are three extra runs to his credit already. Another single and the over has gone for eight.
35th over: South Africa 186-3 (Rossouw 24, de Villiers 15)
Jerome Taylor is back, and he’s getting another long chat from the umpires – again, it looks like this is about the state of the ball. Was he the cause of their conference with Holder before? Is there a suggestion of tampering here? No doubt these questions will be asked by the press after the game. It’s not a great look out on the ground, but there may equally be no basis for jumping to that conclusion.
34th over: South Africa 176-3 (Rossouw 17, de Villiers 12)
Gayle remains in the game, the captain hoping for one more from Golden Arm. Taylor and Holder have five overs each remaining, Russell six, Benn three. Four singles and a wide from the Gayle over. You’ll probably take that. Rossouw tries to fox Gayle with some fake footwork, but it doesn’t ruffle the Ice Chest.
33rd over: South Africa 171-3 (Rossouw 10, de Villiers 10)
Well. Rossouw clearly doesn’t want to let momentum flag. And there must be a team plan to get after Darren Sammy today. They’ve played against West Indies a lot lately, so they must have identified Sammy as the link they have to attack hardest. Rossouw gives him an ugly slog to midwicket for four, then a proper pull for the same as Sammy goes shorter. Singles all round and that makes 12 from the over. Sammy’s seven have gone for 50 runs.
32nd over: South Africa 159-3 (Rossouw 5, de Villiers 8)
Rilee Rossouw is a left-hander, for those of your eclining in your garden chairs seeing this game in your mind’s eye, and he swats Gayle though the left-hander’s cover region for a couple, then takes a single. Again it was AB’s hard running that made an extra run on that two. AB gets a wide and a couple.
31st over: South Africa 153-3 (Rossouw 2, de Villiers 6)
Knowing that South Africa will want a couple of overs to settle down, Holder takes advantage and gets Sammy back on. Important to get some economical offerings from him. Only four from that over as AB surveys the scene. Some excellent running to turn one into two. The 150 ticks by.
30th over: South Africa 149-3 (Rossouw 1, de Villiers 1)
How often has AB de Villiers walked out in an ODI to find three catchers around the bat? That’s what Holder has in place for Gayle as he finishes his over. Two from it, both the set batsmen too. Even if Gayle doesn’t make 200 today he’s made a huge contribution. Dragged West Indies back into the contest.
That’s two in three! The new Rossouw took a single, then the next ball was straight, on the stumps, maybe it was held back a bit and fooled Amla for pace, but he missed it. He was back on his stumps trying to flick it away, and though he asked his partner whether he should review, the answer was “Don’t bother.” Dead in front.
No, he’s not catching anyone. But he’s been caught, cutting at a Gayle delivery that bounced more than he expected and took the top edge to the keeper. A faint one, but Faf went without demur. The Gayle move has paid off.
29th over: South Africa 145-1 (Amla 65, du Plessis 62)
Gracious. Samuels comes back from the other end, Faf du Plessis backs away, gets on the back foot and lifts an inside-out drive over cover for a one-bounce four. That was the ball after scooping one over the keeper’s head for two. He’s catching Amla.
28th over: South Africa 136-1 (Amla 64, du Plessis 54)
West Indies are caught a bit short with their bowling, trying to save Taylor’s overs for the more attacking times in the game, so Chris Gayle is having a trundle. That three-step approach to the crease, wandering up like he’s buying a newspaper, then lobbing down a straight one. They work his efforts happily, with five singles, a two, and a wide.
27th over: South Africa 128-1 (Amla 60, du Plessis 51)
Half century! Click go the gears boys, as Faf pulls for two, clumps a lofted four over long-off that lands just inside the rope, then takes a single for his 50th run. 59 balls but only two boundaries. That tells you a lot about how efficiently he’s played.
26th over: South Africa 119-1 (Amla 59, du Plessis 43)
Only ones and twos, but they’re hitting their shots a lot harder now. There’s a sense of building momentum. Benn’s over goes for seven. Hang in there, I think we’re about to see the gears go up.
25th over: South Africa 112-1 (Amla 56, du Plessis 39)
Half century! Amla raises it with a six. He’s had enough of hanging around. It wasn’t too full from Sammy, but Amla drove through the line, didn’t catch it fully but got enough for it to clear the rope, just, dead straight behind the bowler. 10 from the over.
24th over: South Africa 102-1 (Amla 47, du Plessis 38)
The team 100 comes up from 141 balls. Five singles from the Benn over. The one dot ball should have been a four, short and wide and slapped to the point fieldsman. Then Amla absolutely crashes a drive back at du Plessis, who’s nearly hit. Long-on saves.
23rd over: South Africa 97-1 (Amla 44, du Plessis 36)
Amla is really struggling outside his off stump today, can’t get his timing, can’t get his placement. Sammy’s over goes for three singles. The main thing though is that Amla is still there. Can still hurt them later if they don’t shift him.
22nd over: South Africa 94-1 (Amla 42, du Plessis 35)
Benn bowling well, more and more flight as he grown in confidence and rhythm. Also fielding well, probably saves four by taking the heat off another straight drive that only goes for a single. Four of those from the over.
21st over: South Africa 90-1 (Amla 40, du Plessis 33)
That’s a much better over from Sammy, tying up Amla outside the off stump, and with the yorker. Only three singles from it.
20th over: South Africa 87-1 (Amla 39, du Plessis 31)
Benn dives well to stop a straight drive from his own bowling, but the others in the over are worked comfortably for singles. Less comfortable is a conference between both umpires and Jason Holder where it looks like they may be warning him about the state of the ball. Not sure if that’s the case, but that’s the TV speculation from the replays.
19th over: South Africa 83-1 (Amla 37, du Plessis 29)
Darren Sammy starts his day’s bowling – West Indies’ former captain. Sturdy medium pace at around 120 km/h, but he can be deceptive with cutters and pace. One draws a miscue that du Plessis hits in the air past short midwicket, another takes the edge, but those shots bring only runs. Three singles, two doubles, seven from the over.
18th over: South Africa 76-1 (Amla 33, du Plessis 26)
Benn is playing the typical spinner’s cat-and-mouse game, drifting the ball around, varying the drop. Amla get a big nick for a couple of runs. They take four from the over.
17th over: South Africa 72-1 (Amla 30, du Plessis 25)
This is sweet, the umpire is dressing Faf. Helping tuck his collar down and straighten him up for school. The pitch here looks kind of sticky, a bouncer in that over just didn’t come onto the bat at all. Seemed to jam in the wicket and slowly loop through. Russell gives Faf a wide and three runs in all.
16th over: South Africa 68-1 (Amla 30, du Plessis 22)
The momentum continues. It helps when you get a rank short ball from a spinner first up that you can cut for four. Amla and du Plessis then get a brace and a single each, and it’s ten from the Sulieman Benn over. That’s drinks with the run rate looking a little less parched.
15th over: South Africa 58-1 (Amla 23, du Plessis 19)
Now the consolidation starts to pay off. Russell drops short outside off and du Plessis punishes him through midwicket. Amla drives three through third man. Add a couple of singles and that’s nine from the over.
14th over: South Africa 49-1 (Amla 19, du Plessis 14)
Sulieman Benn begins his day’s work, the proper off-spinner replacing the part-timer. Another very tall bowler, natural loop in his delivery from his height. Only the three runs from it, all singles to the on-side.
13th over: South Africa 46-1 (Amla 17, du Plessis 13)
Quietly audacious from Amla. He started outside leg, then stepped a good yard across until he was outside his off stump, and flicked Russell for two to backward square. Predicting this dry line and moving to manipulate it. He drives two more through cover, then repeats it for a single.
12th over: South Africa 39-1 (Amla 12, du Plessis 11)
Marlon Samuels will offer spin from the other end, flattish fast off-spin. Amla works a single, du Plessis immediately pulls out the scoop and flicks the ball over the keeper for two. A couple more singles follow. Things freeing up slightly.
11th over: South Africa 34-1 (Amla 10, du Plessis 8)
Andre Russell bowls his first over, and comparatively it sets South Africa flying. A leg bye, a single, then two runs to du Plessis. Hold onto your inflatable novelty items.
10th over: South Africa 30-1 (Amla 9, du Plessis 6)
Holder is metronomic. Outside off stump ball after ball. Only from the final ball, as he strays a little, can du Plessis find a single. Sout Africa in consolidation mode.
9th over: South Africa 29-1 (Amla 9, du Plessis 5)
Taylor drags a slower ball very wide, Amla cracks it on the drive, but it’s very well fielded on the dive at backward point. The next ball is better, hit harder, and goes straight to point. Two shots, two dots.
@GeoffLemonSport Duminy’s absence is a rather specified strain for us in SA, less calm in the middle order and a handy bowler short.
8th over: South Africa 27-1 (Amla 8, du Plessis 4)
Holder is still keeping things tight here, Amla getting a single off the first ball, then du Plessis kept quiet until pulling two runs from the fifth. Steady stuff, consistent lines. Holder said he wasn’t unhappy to be bowling first. You also get the sense the Windies power hitters are more suited to chasing a target, even if it’s a big one.
7th over: South Africa 24-1 (Amla 7, du Plessis 2)
A wide from Taylor to start, then some sharp hustle by Simmons cuts off the chance of a single as Amla works behind square. Two more runs as Amla opens the face to drive behind point.
6th over: South Africa 18-1 (Amla 4, du Plessis 0)
A successful outing for the over-the-shoulder Holder bowler, who dots up Faf du Plessis to conclude a wicket maiden.
It’s early in the day but de Kock is out! He was tied down, facing his 19th ball with only a couple of scoring shots from them and he lost patience. Tried to uppercut a Holder ball that wasn’t that short, and only succeeded in flipping it to point.
5th over: South Africa 18-0 (de Kock 12, Amla 4)
Amla gets away with a nice straight drive from Taylor, just to the on-side of the ground for two, then inside-edges two more through square. That’s enough for him from the over, as he shuts up shop.
4th over: South Africa 14-0 (de Kock 12, Amla 0)
Holder bowling well, aside from a wide. Amla still can’t score, he gets off strike with a leg bye and survives the corresponding appeal for lbw. High and leg side. Holder comes around the wicket to de Kock, obvious plan there for West Indies, and QDK edges a ball past his stumps to fine leg for four.
3rd over: South Africa 8-0 (de Kock 8, Amla 0)
QDK is playing and missing a bit with Taylor’s pace. Tries to lift one over slip that he can’t hit, then is whacked on the thigh by one that cuts in, then just keeps out a full ball angled in from around the wicket to the left-handed batsman. Another maiden. Not that South Africa will worry, we’ve seen how they can lift their pace later in an innings.
2nd over: South Africa 8-0 (de Kock 8, Amla 0)
Good over from Jason Holder, the very tall and young West Indian captain who’s doing his best with a pretty tough job. He ties up Amla, who only really plays one shot in the over, and mistimes it. Can’t score, and very nearly gets an inside edge to one ball that cuts him in half, but survives the appeal. It’s a maiden.
1st over: South Africa 8-0 (de Kock 8, Amla 0)
The outfield is fast, and so is the start. Jerome Taylor hits a good line and length across the left-handed de Kock first ball, but the second is punched off the back foot and timed away to beat two fieldsmen behind point. Taylor comes around the wicket to angle the ball in, and de Kock cover-drives four more. Lazy work from Samuels who could have saved that, but tried to hoof it back from the rope rather than diving after it, and it kept trickling after he’d passed by.
The countdown begins. Drop me a line throughout: Twitter at @GeoffLemonSport, or email via firstname.lastname@example.org. Always good to get word from out there in the world.
South Africa have won the toss and will bat on a sunny afternoon at the SCG. A few changes: Duminy gone, Parnell gone, Philander injured, Rossouw, Abbott and Behardien in, Sulieman Benn in for West Indies, Nikita Miller out.
This version of Rally Round the West Indies sounds like it was taken from a Jamie Foxx easy-listening album.
South Africa v West Indies. The Africans of the South were trounced against India, shellshocked in front of 90-odd thousand screaming Indian fans at the MCG, and that after a less than dominant win against their smaller neighbours Zimbabwe. West Indies lost to Ireland first up, then came back to demolish Zimbabwe and Pakistan.
Where does that leave us? Who knows.
Hello! Good evenmorn, happy Easter, merry spring tidings and bon iver. All the greetmeats of the world are laid on a tray for your delectation. Geoff Lemon leaping into the hosts chair as we prepare for some over by over by over action, over and over until it’s over. I hope humbly that my overcraft will fly.
Geoff will be here shortly to kick things off, so why not have a read of Dileep Premachandran’s take on Chris Gayle’s sensational knock in the West Indies’ last outing while you wait.
This was very much an innings of two halves. For 35 overs, except for the sporadic explosive stroke, both Gayle and West Indies were relatively subdued, easing to 165 for 1. After that, it was like throwing a lit match into a fireworks factory. Gayle’s second hundred took only 33 balls, as West Indies racked up 207 in the final 15 overs. Only 5,544 had come through the turnstiles but, by the innings end, they were serenading a man who has always seen himself as an entertainer first.