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27 February 201508:32

West Indies v South Africa - Greatest Cricket World Cup rivalries

A look at all the memorable duels the West Indies-South Africa rivalry has produced in ICC Cricket World Cups

West Indies v South Africa - Greatest Cricket World Cup rivalries - Cricket News

Since South Africa's return, it has met West Indies five times in six editions of the World Cup and played out some memorable matches.

The rivalry
South Africa was not in the picture when the West Indies had its best days in world cricket. When Clive Lloyd’s team won in 1975 and 1979, South Africa was in exile. When South Africa came back to international cricket, West Indies wasn’t the force it had been a decade ago, though with Brian Lara leading the batting unit and Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose very much in the mix, it was not a weak team by any yardstick.

Of late, of course, South Africa has had better results, a fact reflected in the ICC rankings – with South Africa No. 3 and West Indies No. 8 at the moment. But over five matches in six editions of the World Cup since South Africa’s return, the two teams have played out some memorable matches. And there have been some remarkable individual performances too.

Match 1: ICC Cricket World Cup 1992, Christchurch
The fifth edition of the World Cup marked South Africa’s debut in the tournament. Straight in, South Africa made a splash, beating everyone but New Zealand and England on its way to the semi-finals, where it lost a rain-affected game against England. One of the teams it beat in the round-robin stage was West Indies, a line-up of high-quality batters and bowlers.

The match was played in Christchurch and pacemen from either side, expectedly, had a good time. Peter Kirsten’s 56 and twenties from five others helped South Africa reach a modest 200 for 8, Curtly Ambrose, Malcolm Marshall and Anderson Cummins picking up two wickets. Once the four-pronged South African pace attack was done with the West Indians, though, that total proved 64 runs too many.

Desmond Haynes – who was hit twice on the fingers – retired, and then came back after wickets fell in a heap to make a battling 30. Gus Logie struck nine fours and a six in his 69-ball 61, but all the others scored in single figures for South Africa to clinch a big win. Meyrick Pringle was the star with the ball, returning incredible figures of 8-4-11-4, his wickets being Brian Lara, Richie Richardson, Carl Hooper and Keith Arthurton, West Indies’ Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5. It was West Indies’ lowest total in World Cups at the time.

Match 2: ICC Cricket World Cup 1996, Karachi
It was a quarterfinal encounter, and keeping the conditions in Karachi in mind, South Africa left out Allan Donald to accommodate two spinners: Pat Symcox and Paul Adams. The two of them did pick up two wickets apiece, but Symcox was expensive, Brian Lara hitting five fours in one of his overs on his way to a 94-ball 111.

West Indies had lost to Kenya earlier, but overcome that defeat to beat Australia, thus qualifying for the quarter-finals where it had drawn South Africa. Batting first, it was a Lara show all the way, though Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s 56 was a valuable support act. Lara was in complete command, with a typically fluent innings, shots all around the park, and a heavy toll taken off the bowlers. His innings carried the West Indies to 264 for 8, an extremely good total back in 1996.

South Africa’s chase looked in good shape with Andrew Hudson (54) and Daryll Cullinan (69) putting together 97 for the second wicket and Hansie Cronje chipping in with 40. But Jimmy Adams, the part-time left-arm spinner, was making dent after dent already, sending back all the three batsmen, and once he was done, Roger Harper took over. He removed Jonty Rhodes first ball, and Brian McMillan second ball, and then, later in the same over, Steve Palframan, the wicketkeeper. Just like that, the innings had disintegrated, and it ended 19 runs behind the West Indian total, with the spinners accounting for eight of the South African wickets.

Match 3: ICC Cricket World Cup 2003, Cape Town
It was the inaugural match of the 2003 World Cup, in South Africa, and the two teams – level at 1-1 in World Cup matches – gave the tournament a rollicking start with a three-run result.

The early star, giving the crowd plenty to cheer about, was Shaun Pollock, as he reduced West Indies to 7 for 2. But from then on, it was Brian Lara, who followed up his 1996 century against South Africa with another special – this time it was a 134-ball 116 that took West Indies to 278 for 5. Lara was dropped first ball by Jacques Kallis at second slip, and then moved slowly as West Indies reached only 67 for 2 at the halfway stage. He took off after that, though, and smashed all the South African bowlers for runs.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul compiled a sedate 60-ball 34, but Carl Hooper got things moving with a run-a-ball 40, before Ricardo Powell (40 not out in 18 balls) and Ramnaresh Sarwan (32 not out in 15 balls) turned it on towards the end as West Indies added 110 in the last ten overs.

South Africa, docked one over for slow over-rate, had a tough task but contributions by a number of batsmen kept it in the hunt. Herschelle Gibbs (24), Gary Kirsten (69) and Mark Boucher (49) did well, and then it came down to Lance Klusener and Nicky Boje. The man who could make the difference was Klusener, and he did his bit, smashing five sixes in a 48-ball 57 before being dismissed in the 49th over – the last. And, once he fell, South Africa fell too, a loss that went a long way in the team being knocked out in the first round.

Match 4: ICC Cricket World Cup 2007, Grenada
If West Indies handed South Africa defeat in what was South Africa’s home World Cup, West Indies was paid back in the same coin in 2007. The loss sent the home side out of its own party as a result.

It was the Super Eights, and Brian Lara, the West Indies captain, inserted South Africa at the National Stadium in Grenada, and then watched as AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, Herschelle Gibbs and Mark Boucher pounded his bowlers into submission. Graeme Smith fell early, but de Villiers then put on 170 runs with Kallis (81), and 70 with Gibbs, before falling for 146, scored from 130 balls. Gibbs continued, scoring an unbeaten 61 from 40 balls, and Boucher pitched in with a 23-ball 52, and West Indies had a chase of 357 lined up.

West Indies needed to score at over seven an over, but by the 12th over, it was 69 for 3. Wickets fell at regular intervals, and it was only Ramnaresh Sarwan’s belligerent 92 and a late blast from Daren Powell that took West Indies to 289 for 9 – 67 runs short of where it needed to be. It was a one-sided game all the way, and South Africa had levelled scores at 2-2 as far as World Cup matches went.

Match 5: ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, New Delhi
West Indies and South Africa met in a Group B game at Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi in the 2011 edition, and viewers were served up a one-sided contest, with West Indies never really threatening South Africa.

After being asked to bat, West Indies rode on Darren Bravo’s 82-ball 73 and contributions from Devon Smith (36), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (31) and Dwayne Bravo (40) to reach 222 before being bowled out in the 48th over. It was a dominant bowling performance on the whole from South Africa, with Johan Botha (2/48), Dale Steyn (3/24) and Imran Tahir (4/41) doing all the damage.

The target was never likely to worry South Africa, and it didn’t, even though Kemar Roach sent Hashim Amla back early and Sulieman Benn accounted for Jacques Kallis to leave South Africa at 20 for 2 by the end of the fifth over. AB de Villiers, however, was at it again, scoring an unbeaten 107 from 105 balls to guide the chase. He first shared a 119-run stand with Graeme Smith (45) and then had JP Duminy (42 not out) accompanying him to the end, which came in the 43rd over.

What to expect in #cwc2015
It’s 3-2 for South Africa in World Cup encounters between the two sides, and the West Indians would have to play out of their skins in Sydney on February 27 if they want to draw level with South Africa at 3-3.

South Africa is, without doubt, one of the most complete One-Day International teams in the world at the moment, and among the frontrunners to lift the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup trophy. West Indies, on the other hand, is among the middle-rungers, and will come into the tournament after suffering a 4-1 loss against South Africa in January 2015.

The neutrals’ prediction might be for South Africa, but as the West Indies showed in 1996 and 2003, predictions on paper count for little and individual brilliance can carry the day spectacularly. A few mighty blows from Chris Gayle, a few other performances of note, and, who knows what the people at SCG will get to witness.