Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers launched a fierce assault that led South Africa to an eight-wicket victory against tournament favourites Australia in a warm-up match at Centurion. Chasing 180, Smith remained unbeaten on 89 while de Villiers smashed 65 off 35 balls as South Africa overhauled the target with five balls to spare.
Smith and Herschelle Gibbs raced off in pursuit of the target, adding 54 for the first wicket in 5.3 overs. Gibbs was bowled by Ben Hilfenhaus but South Africa only gained momentum once de Villiers joined Smith. They added 129 for the third wicket in 12.1 overs. Smith’s 89 took 61 balls and included 11 fours and three sixes while de Villiers smacked four fours and as many sixes. Australia used seven bowlers and Brett Lee - 0 for 14 off two overs - was the most economical of them all.
Australia had got off to a poor start against New Zealand yesterday when Shane Bond dismissed Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden in the first over and they struggled once again. Shaun Pollock bowled Gilchrist and Brad Haddin off successive deliveries in the third over to reduce them to 16 for 2. Wickets kept falling at regular intervals and it was left to Andrew Symonds - 45 off 26 balls - and the lower-order batsmen to take Australia to 179. Pollock finished with superb figures of 2 for 16 off three overs and was supported well by Makhaya Ntini who conceded just 17 off his three.
An incredible spell from Daren Powell spearheaded West Indies’ 35-run victory against New Zealand in Benoni. Powell took 3 for 4 off four overs as New Zealand were bowled out for 115 in the 19th over while chasing 151 for victory.
West Indies’ defence began superbly when Fidel Edwards had Brendon McCullum caught behind off the first ball of the innings. Edwards and Ravi Rampaul didn’t allow New Zealand to get off to a flier but it was Powell who had the decisive impact with his economy and wickets. He had Lou Vincent caught in the fifth over and then dismissed Ross Taylor and Scott Styris in successive overs. New Zealand were 44 for 4 and never recovered. Peter Fulton top-scored with 51, and Daniel Vettori, who made 24, was the only other batsman to reach double figures.
The West Indian batsmen also struggled earlier. Devon Smith was dismissed by Chris Martin in the second over and Chris Gayle had to retire hurt with the score on 7 after being hit on the side of his right knee by a Chris Martin delivery. Gayle had suffered a blow in the same area during practice on September 6. However, his going off was only a precautionary measure, and he is expected to be fit for the match against South Africa on Tuesday. Marlon Samuels and Dwayne Bravo also fell cheaply, effectively reducing West Indies to 22 for 4, although only three wickets had fallen. Dwayne Smith propped up the innings with 47 off 46 balls and received support from Narsingh Deonarine and Denesh Ramdin to take West Indies to 150.
A solid opening stand of 94 between Salman Butt and Mohammad Hafeez helped Pakistan ease to a five-wicket win against Sri Lanka at Centurion. Butt scored 51 and Hafeez 45 as Pakistan chased down the target of 163 with more than an over to spare.
After being put in to bat, Sri Lanka were off to a good start with Sanath Jayasuriya and Upul Tharanga adding 45 in five overs. Mohammad Asif, who missed the warm-up against Zimbabwe due to a thigh injury, removed Tharanga for 30. Hafeez tied the batsmen down with his offspinners, conceding 18 off his four overs and picking up two wickets. Sri Lanka lost their way a bit at 80 for 4, before Jehan Mubarak revived the innings, sharing stands of 36 and 41 with Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan respectively.
Pakistan responded smoothly thanks to Hafeez and Butt as the seamers came in for a bit of stick. The Sri Lankans managed to pick up a few wickets but by then Pakistan were well on course to victory. Shoaib Malik steered his side home with an unbeaten 34.
Kenya upset Bangladesh by six wickets with one ball to spare in the second round of warm-up matches in Benoni. A fantastic effort from Kenya’s bowlers dismissed Bangladesh for only 116 and all their batsmen chipped in to achieve the target in the final over.
Steve Tikolo’s decision to field paid off when Thomas Odoyo dismissed two of Bangladesh’s big hitters - Nazimuddin and Aftab Ahmed - cheaply. Tamim Iqbal offered resistance during his 56 off 41 balls that included one six but got no support from the other end. Aftab’s 17 was the second highest score in an innings where only three batsmen got to double figures. Odoyo’s spell of 2 for 21 swung the advantage Kenya’s way and he was well backed up by Nehemiah Odhiambo, who took 3 for 37, and Lameck Onyango’s 2 for 19.
Kenya approached their small target sensibly with the Obuya brothers - David and Collins - adding 41 in eight overs for the first wicket. They kept abreast with the required run-rate and it was Steve Tikolo who provided the acceleration, during his 36 off 38 balls that helped Kenya over the finish line.
Zimbabwe scored a five-wicket victory in their warm-up match against Scotland at Potchefstroom. Scotland scored 156 for 6 in their 20 overs and Zimbabwe chased it down with seven balls to spare.
Scotland captain Ryan Watson top-scored for his team, scoring 64 off 50 balls with five fours and two sixes. He received support from Navdeep Poonia, who scored 36 off 27 balls, and the pair added 84 for the second wicket. Zimbabwe used eight bowlers and Gary Brent returned the best figures with 1 for 20 off three overs.
Vusi Sibanda and Chamu Chibhabha scored 42 and 43 respectively and laid a solid platform for Zimbabwe’s chase. They added 79 for the second wicket after Brendan Taylor had fallen cheaply. Stuart Matsikenyeri took Zimbabwe through to victory and remained unbeaten on 25 off 18 balls.
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:Australia, Ben Hilfenhaus, Graeme Smith, Herschelle Gibbs, South Africa, Twenty20 World Cup
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