Wellington - AB de Villiers came within a whisker of his 21st one-day international century as South Africa posted an imposing 341 for six against the United Arab Emirates in their Cricket World Cup Pool B match on Thursday.
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De Villiers was surprisingly dismissed for 99 with a little more than seven overs remaining after combining in a 108-run partnership with David Miller (49) and 53-runs with JP Duminy.
Farhaan Behardien, who scored a quick-fire 64 not out, and Vernon Philander (10) took South Africa past 300, which should be enough for a victory that will qualify them for the quarter-finals in second place in the group behind unbeaten India.
De Villiers' side are on six points and have had an inconsistent tournament, posting totals in excess of 400 twice but also losing their nerve chasing against India and Pakistan.
Hashim Amla began positively enough after Mohammad Tauqir had won the toss and opted to field, with the South African opening batsman belting Mohammad Naveed for two boundaries.
He was then struck on the right wrist by a high full toss and despite playing on after receiving on-field medical treatment, did not last much longer when he mistimed a short Naveed delivery and was caught by Amjad Ali for 12.
Quinton de Kock, who was in desperate need of a long innings, scratched around for 45 balls and was the junior partner in a 68-run partnership with Rilee Rossouw before he was caught by wicketkeeper Saqlain Haider off Amjad Javed for 26.
Rossouw was then deceived by a Tauqir slower ball and hit it straight back to the UAE captain to be caught and bowled for 43, bringing Miller and De Villiers together for the most significant partnership of the innings.
Both fell short of milestones with Miller bowled by Naveed for 49, while De Villiers surprisingly hit the ball straight to Javed at short third man as he attempted to pass three figures.