SA in West Indies
ODI clean sweep for Proteas
Roelof van der Merwe dives in vain in attempt to stop a run. (Gallo Images)
Port-of-Spain - The Proteas squad scored their second successive 5-0 series win against the West Indies in the Caribbean thanks to a one-wicket win in the final match of the current series at Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad on Thursday.
It was their 11th win in a row against these particular opponents going back to the 2007 World Cup and their last defeat against the West Indies was at the ICC Champions’ Trophy in India in 2006.
The match went down to the last over with last man Lonwabo Tsotsobe striking the winning boundary with two balls to spare. It was the first time that Tsotsobe had been required to bat in an ODI and was probably the most significant stroke played by a South African No 11 batsman in this format of the game since Makhaya Ntini’s single in the famous 438 game at the Wanderers in 2006.
The Proteas had been set a modest target of 253 for victory but made life difficult for themselves when their two in-form batsmen, Hashim Amla (run out) and AB de Villiers (caught at deep midwicket), got out to soft dismissals.
It was left to half-centuries from man of the match Jacques Kallis and JP Duminy to get the Proteas into a position to win the match but they still had a struggle on their hands when they needed 17 off the last two overs with only two wickets left in hand.
But the tail proved equal to the occasion with all of Roelof van der Merwe, Charl Langeveldt and Tsotsobe striking important boundaries to see them home.
In spite of his dismissal for 45 runs Amla became the first South African to score more than 400 runs (402) in a five-match ODI series. He had an average of just over 80 and finished with two centuries and another score of 92.
He has now made 523 runs in seven ODI matches this year which is one less than AB de Villiers who has made 524 runs from eight matches. The only players ahead of them are the Australian duo, Ricky Ponting (584) and Cameron White (537) who have both played 15 matches.
There was also an individual landmark for Mark Boucher who took his 400th ODI catch and his first as an outfielder. He was played as a specialist batsman as he has been troubled by a recurrent back injury and the team management was loathe to put his back under stress with the first Test match only a week away.
The catch was a spectacular effort taken overhead in the covers.
At the end of the match captain Graeme Smith praised his men for a true team effort throughout the series.
Cricket South Africa CEO Gerald Majola praised the Proteas for the way they have rallied after the poor performance at the ICC World Twenty20.
“All congratulations go to the Proteas for showing so much passion and prowess to win the ODI series against the West Indies 5-0 away from home.
“This is a remarkable comeback after the disappointment of the ICC Twenty20 tournament and augurs well for the preparation for next year’s ICC World Cup.
“This overwhelming victory will give much confidence going into the upcoming Test series against the West Indies and into the Proteas’ quest to become the world’s best in both forms of the game again.”
David Miller, one of the bright young stars to emerge from this series, could not be considered for the final match because of an ankle injury suffered at a fielding practice.