South Africa's first innings display ensured victory today over the West Indies in the Twenty20 Super Eight match and gave them a record sixth straight win in Twenty20 matches.
|South Africa open up in the Super Eights [GALLO/GETTY]
A superb pairing of Jacques Kallis and Herschelle Gibbs put South Africa in a comfortable 136-3 postion and, despite some fantastic bowling from West Indies in the final part of the innings, they never looked back.
Looking at a target of 188 for victory, West Indies took to the bat and started off poorly.
After just over three overs, they found themselves two wickets down with Andre Fletcher going for a duck and Captain Chris Gayle followed after registering just 5 runs to leave the West Indies at 13-2.
The West Indies continued to push with the consistent Simmons hitting his seventh four in the eighth over but Dwayne Bravo pushed slightly too hard as he looked to blast the last ball of the ninth over to the boundary for a six but the leaping Dale Steyn denied him and Bravo left the field with the West Indies at 70-3.
Simmons' continued his fine form to register his ninth four in the tenth over to give him his half century off 31 balls but his partners seemed to just fall by the wayside as Shivnarine Chanderpaul was caught out by JP Duminy for just 8 runs off 7 balls.
Simmons' was eventually caught in the sixteenth over. AB de Villiers stood firm at the boundary to firmly pick the ball out of the air to call Simmons' time at the bat to an end with an impressive 77 off 50 balls.
Yet again Simmons' partners didn't match up as straight after the youngster's dismissal Ramnaresh Sarwan was caught out by Johan Botha to leave West Indies at 133-6.
By the end of the seventeenth over, the West Indies knew they had lost this game. Some fantastic bowling by Wayne Parnell, with 4 runs and 4 wickets in fewer than three overs, really brought them down to Earth after Simmon's attempt at turning the game around.
It was a similar story in the first innings, but South Africa's strong start ensured the final victory.
A wayward legside delivery by Jerome Taylor was helped on its way for a four, before Kallis hit a casual ball for a six. Uncharacteristically untidy fielding by Bravo gave Kallis another four to round off a strong over for a 26-0 lead.
South Africa continued their sturdy start with Graeme Smith steering in fluent four after four until Smith's purple patch came to an abrupt end when he flashed another drive straight into the hands of Andre Fletcher to finish his cameo with South Africa at 54-1 with just under 6 overs played.
Gibbs, who came in for the departed Smith, seemed to opt for a far more careful approach. On the other hand, Kallis carried on as before with a few more fours to round of the eighth over at a comfortable 70-1.
It was actually Gibbs who took the Proteas over the 100 mark with a powerful straight long-on four. Kallis, rightfully brimming with confidence, tried to mimic Gibbs with an identical hit but Kieron Pollard caught him near the crease to end his day as the highest overall scorer in the tournament so far, and with 45 of 31 balls for the day.
Kallis' departure meant that Gibbs needed to push on with some big hits and he did.
By the end of the fourteenth over he had hit clever four and a huge six over mid-wicket. But, as what happened with Kallis, as soon as Gibbs got some confidence he was caught by West Indies’ Taylor and departed on 55.
Four wickets in two overs
South Africa appeared to implode after their impressive start with a further four wickets in 2 overs.
First, Kallis’ replacement AB de Villiers was also caught by Gayle, then Albie Morkel was stunned by a blistering bowl from Taylor to leave the field with just 10 runs to his name.
But the worst was still to come when the usually impressive JP Duminy stepped up to the plate, attempted to blast his first ball but was caught by Sarwan for the dismissal on nuls points. Then, to wrap it up, Van der Merwe went for just one run.
Suddenly South Africa were looking at a scoreboard that read 166-7.
Taylor retired in the penultimate over was a figure of 3-30 and South Africa rounded off the final over with a far more impressive 17 runs, to finish their innings off on 187-7.