Jacques Kallis helped himself to a steady half-century as South Africa boosted their Super Eights position with a handsome seven-wicket win against Ireland. An adjusted target of 160 offered few challenges after a competent performance from the bowlers in a match cut to 35 overs by a two-hour rain break early in Ireland’s innings.
Ireland were on the backfoot from the start, asked to bat on an overcast day, and their innings was twice reduced. Having struggled against the new ball they had no momentum to build on. Shaun Pollock created the early pressure then Andrew Hall and Charl Langeveldt showed their experience in the closing overs.
But South Africa, who were reduced to 91 for 8 by Ireland in a warm-up match, were kept on their toes. Boyd Rankin’s first-over removal of AB de Villiers hinted that the run chase could be a testing affair. There was movement for Rankin and David Langford-Smith, but unlike their South African counterparts they didn’t quite have the skill to build pressure.
Kallis, in a situation where scoring rate wasn’t the major factor, played himself in before unfurling a range of stunning cover drives. Graeme Smith, too, took the innings by the scruff of the neck, using his typically agricultural strokeplay to make major inroads into the target. Paul Mooney was given a harsh introduction into World Cup action, his first two overs dispatched for 23 as he regularly dropped short and wide.
Smith was approaching a record of five consecutive World Cup half-centuries, but somehow Trent Johnston reached down in his follow through to pluck out a well-struck drive. Herschelle Gibbs didn’t last long, picking out midwicket as Rankin returned and struck again, but Ireland’s last chance went with two dropped catches in three overs.
Rankin couldn’t repeat his captain’s reflexes when he spilled a return catch offered by Kallis on 40, then Johnston himself did all the hard work in getting to a top-edged sweep off the same batsman but the ball went through his hands. Kallis’s second fifty of the tournament came of a comfortable 61 balls while Ashwell Prince added the finishes touches, showing rare aggression as skipped down the pitch to the spinners on his return to the team. However, despite winning with 21 balls to spare their overall net run-rate is still in the negative column, something they’ll need to watch as the Super Eights continues.
But efficiency was the watch word for South Africa throughout the day, from the moment Pollock trapped Jeremy Bray lbw for his second consecutive duck without a run on the board. When the major rain arrived Ireland were 23 for 1 off 11 overs and on resumption were in the position of having to decided whether to stick or twist; the Duckworth-Lewis method looks favorably on more wickets left at the end, but the batsmen couldn’t waste time prodding around.
William Porterfield succumbed trying to go over cover, but Eoin Morgan, who hasn’t produced the scores expected of him during the tournament, showed some of his best timing until he was surprised by Hall’s express bouncer. When Niall O’Brien got a leading edge to Langeveldt, now comfortably South Africa’s top wicket-taker, Ireland threatened to fall apart at 77 for 4 in the 23rd over. However, Andrew White, who struck firmly against England again used the long handle, but after dispatching some of South Africa’s finest he clubbed a knee-high full toss from Smith to midwicket.
This match brought together some old foes, the coaches are both good friends, while Andre Botha grew up in South Africa. Botha, though, fell to one of the numerous pieces of sharp field - this occasion AB de Villiers at cover - as the experience of Hall and Langeveldt shone through with four wickets falling for eight runs. Langford-Smith and Johnston enjoyed slightly more success, adding 28 off 22 balls, with that Irish spirit which has been their hallmark. But their giant-killing of the opening phase has turned into a harsh reality check about the demands of living at the top table.
Source:Cricket WorldcupMore on:Andrew Hall, Charl Langeveldt, Jacques Kallis, run rate, Shaun Pollock, South Africa, Super Eight, Super Eights, William Porterfield, World Cup
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2007 and is filed under Cricket, Cricket Stars.
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