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17 January 201502:10

Clinical South Africa clinches rain-hit game

De Villiers and Miller star with the bat before Philander, Tahir and Steyn pick up three wickets each in 61-run (D/L method) win

Clinical South Africa clinches rain-hit game - Cricket News

AB de Villiers scored 81 off 94 balls to guide South Africa to 279 for 8 in 48.2 overs.

For close to three hours on Friday (January 16) night, fans waited patiently as a torrential downpour lashed Durban. It left open the possibility of an abandonment halfway through the first One-Day International between South Africa and West Indies. But the ones that braved the rain and gusty winds went back happy as South Africa won by 61 runs via the Duckworth-Lewis method.

South Africa's innings came to a close with the scoreboard reading 279 for 8 in 48.2 overs as rain came in and stopped play for three hours, and when play resumed, West Indies was set a revised target of 229 from 33 overs.

Chris Gayle began like a man on a mission, seemingly intent on seeing the chase through inside 20 overs, but ran out of luck early in the piece. From there on, it was a procession of sorts as batsman after batsman got out and Jason Holder's captaincy debut ended in a demoralising loss, with West Indies bowled out for 164 in 28.2 overs.

Incidentally, with West Indies at 153 for 7, there was another short rain break and the target was further revised to 225 from 32 overs.

With three wickets in hand, West Indies had little hope, and even that went out of the window as Denesh Ramdin (31) was bowled attempting a slog sweep to give Imran Tahir his 50th ODI wicket.

The manner in West Indies caved in wasn't completely unexpected. Yet, credit must be given to the South Africa pacers and Tahir for being relentless in their approach.

West Indies blasted away to 50 off just six overs, and the punches started flowing just as one wondered if West Indies had what it took. Gayle's attempted flay over point off Dale Steyn resulted in a thick edge to the wicketkeeper, Leon Johnson played across the line to a Vernon Philander inswinger, Marlon Samuels was caught napping when Farhaan Behardien effected a direct hit from mid-off and Dwayne Smith was foxed by a Tahir googly to leave them at 89 for 4.

From there on, there was no looking back for South Africa as Philander, Steyn and Tahir finished with three wickets apiece.

Earlier in the night, AB De Villiers (81) and David Miller (70) put on 123 for the fourth wicket after Hashim Amla's 66 at the top, but West Indies fought back with a clutch of wickets towards the end to restrict South Africa.

Jerome Taylor started proceedings with a fiery spell as he nipped out Rilee Rossouw and Faf du Plessis inside the first five overs. But West Indies wasn’t able to sustain pressure at the other end, feeding the batsmen to their strengths on a pitch that had even bounce and carry. The inconsistency was explained by the fact that the scoring rate didn’t fall a shade under six from the sixth over to the 44-over mark.

Amla’s Zen-like calm seemed to have a positive effect on de Villiers, who was happy to bide his time and play second fiddle. But the threatening 99-run stand was finally brought to an end when Amla, who along the way became the fastest South African to get to 5000 ODI runs, was brilliantly run out.

Amla, who eased the ball down to third man, chanced himself against Andre Russell’s bullet-like throw that was fired on top of the stumps. Even a full stretch couldn’t prevent Amla from making it back in time as Ramdin whipped the bails off.

The next 90 minutes was all about de Villiers and Miller, who cashed in on West Indies' inexperience. In the end analysis, it was perhaps that passage that clinched the deal for South Africa.

To see the full scorecard of the match between South Africa and West Indies, please click here.