South Africa 264 for 6 (Klaasen 119*, Joseph 3-50) beat West Indies 260 for 9 (King 72, Fortuin 2-46) by four wickets
Heinrich Klaasen’s second ODI century led South Africa to a series-levelling victory over West Indies in a non-Super League contest. Chasing 261 on a fairly flat surface in Potchefstroom, South Africa were in some trouble on 87 for 4 before Klaasen shared in a half-century stand with David Miller and a 103-run partnership with Marco Jansen, and notched up the fourth-fastest century by a South African to make light work of the target.
The result denied West Indies the opportunity to win their third away bilateral series since 2011, and their first against a team ranked in the top eight. They have also never won a bilateral ODI series in South Africa and last claimed a fifty-over trophy here 30 years ago, when they were successful in a triangular series which also involved Pakistan.
On reflection, West Indies will look at the performance of their middle order, who squandered a strong start – they were 110 for 1 – and lost 6 for 96 between overs 19 and 40. They did not bat out their overs but gave the attack something to defend with 50 runs off the last 50 balls faced. Their bowlers started well against a South African line-up missing Quinton de Kock (rested) and Temba Bavuma (injured) but Klaasen’s clean-hitting turned it into a no-contest as South Africa won with more than 20 overs to spare.
Klaasen was called on after a vicious opening spell by Alzarri Joseph and the departure of stand-in captain Aiden Markram, with a job to do. Joseph sent down a fiery short-ball barrage to remove makeshift opener Ryan Rickelton who fended him to Kyle Mayers at first slip, and No. 3 Rassie van der Dussen who was rushed into the pull shot. Markram saw out the powerplay but then edged a Mayers’ legcutter to Shai Hope to bring Klaasen into play in the 11th over. Nine balls later, West Indies’ successfully reviewed an Akeal Hosein lbw appeal against Tony de Zorzi, that ball-tracking showed was going to hit middle-stump. South Africa were in trouble at 87 for 4.
The tension was broken when Klaasen hung back in his crease to dispatch Hosein’s for two fours in the over, something that would become a feature of his innings. He pulled Joseph for back-to-back-to-back fours to end the threat West Indies’ spearhead posed and then launched Odean Smith over deep mid-wicket for the first of his five sixes. David Miller was largely spectator but sent fuller balls from Hosein and Smith for six before handing Hosein a simple return catch.
With a slightly shorter batting line-up than usual, South Africa could have unraveled but Marco Jansen, on his home ground, proved up to the task. He scored six runs off the first nine balls he faced before he brought out the reverse sweep against legspinner Yannic Cariah and did it twice in three balls. Jansen took a liking to Cariah and scored 14 runs off his next over, including a six over mid-wicket.
By the halfway mark of their innings, South Africa needed just 55 more runs and were scoring at more than eight runs to the over. Klaasen was in the eighties and it took only one Jason Holder over to move him to 99. He reached his hundred with a single off Joseph, off the 54th ball he faced. Jansen was on his way to a first ODI fifty but in his eagerness to get there, guided a Joseph ball to Shamarh Brooks at backward point to leave Wayne Parnell to finish off.
Earlier, West Indies’ innings started well when Mayers took advantage of width from Lungi Ngidi and West Indies racked up 39 runs off the first seven overs. But Mayers was already dismissed after he miscued a pull off Jansen, with Ngidi, at mid-on, back-pedalling to take a diving catch.
Brandon King continued batting positively and reached his fourth ODI half-century with a slash off 60 balls. King and Shamarh Brooks’ second-wicket stand was starting to show promise when Brooks called for a run but King did not respond and Brook slipped on his way back to his crease. He was run-out for 18, and the partnership ended on 71. It turned out to be the highest in the West Indian innings.
Ngidi was brought back after the run-out and King seemed happy to see him. He creamed a half-volley through the covers to enter the 70s but Ngidi had the last laugh. In his next over, King was on his toes trying to play a short ball but chipped it onto his stumps.
Nicholas Pooran punished short balls from Coetzee and Ngidi and slog-swept Fortuin over long-on to take West Indies to 148 for 3 at the halfway stage, with 300 in their sights. They finished well short after Markram brought himself on to hold an end and produced the most economical performance of his career. His 10 overs cost just 30 runs and he claimed the wicket of Jason Holder, who was beaten by turn and stumped. By then, Hope had attempted to whip Bjorn Fortuin over short mid-wicket but only found David Miller, Rovman Powell was beaten in flight and stumped, Nicholas Pooran had been bounced out and Carirah was strangled down the leg-side. Smith’s run-a-ball 17 provided some late fireworks but West Indies would have felt they were below-par, and later realised how far off the pace they were.
(Story by Firdose Moonda from ESPNcricinfo.com)