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Taylor fires WIndies past SA
16 Dec 2007
By: Liam Camps

Bowlers stole the show and 13 wickets tumbled within 23 overs, as West Indies romped to a morale-boosting 5-wicket win to officially open their tour of South Africa. Two quick bowlers - Jerome Taylor and Dale Steyn - featured prominently in the festivities.

The electric atmosphere surrounding the game of Twenty20 could hardly get more intense, but when rain reduced the bout to 13 overs each, it seemed it just might. As Taylor ripped through the South Africa top order it was eagerly confirmed. The Jamaican further signified his return to form with a triple-wicket maiden, a rarity in any form of the game. Ironically he started with a slower ball, trapping Morne van Wyk lbw for 1 to commence the second over. A ball later he reminded of his pacy capabilities by bowling Duminy with a delivery full in length. And to round out the over he returned to his wily beginnings and used a slower ball to dislodge AB de Villiers. The triple strike sent Taylor on his way to stunning figures of 3-1-6-3 in the innings, and ultimately Player of the Match recognition.

It was the perfect start for the touring side, who could hardly face stiffer odds to upset their hosts. And the enthusiasm continued with the wickets of Gibbs, Pollock, Morkel and Philander returned before South Africa had registered a quarter of a century. From the dire depths of 22-7 there seemed little avenue for revival, and though Johan Botha struck some lusty blows in a counterattack of 28 not out, it was only to ultimate merit of 58-8. Botha was the lone batsman to reach double figures for South Africa, who registered the lowest total in Twenty20 Internationals.

South Africa looked stunned and shaken by the raw energy and pace with which they were faced. Still in cruise control from demolishing the New Zealand medium pacers, the West Indies arsenal proved a stern shake-up.

Enthusiasm bubbled in West Indies camp and the words of Chris Gayle - "We don't fear them (South Africa)" - were echoed firmly by Brenton Parchment's initial steps of intent. The debutant launched after Shaun Pollock at the outset, stepping down the wicket twice effectively and collecting a boundary and a six before the completion of the opening over. But as usual with such forceful intentions, aggression was symptomatic of demise. Parchment hit the ball to cover to end the over. Still West Indies looked to be cruising at 32-1 when Runako Morton was in gear, and Pollock summoned Steyn to the attack. It was all too easy for the visitors to that point, but Steyn fired up the contest with raw pace and aggression.

He first removed Devon Smith, miserably out of form and late to defend a delivery that cannoned into offstump. Steyn followed up to bowl Morton off his pads for 20, then hailed to the antics of Taylor in bowling Marlon Samuels with a slower ball. Enter Dwayne Bravo, West Indies captain in place of the injured Gayle, and his exit a ball later was the most spectacular and unplayable of the bunch. A full and fiery delivery left Bravo no option but to lament the loss of two stumps and walk back for a first-ball naught. It seemed a collapse of true West Indian proportions. West Indies had lost 4 wickets for 9 runs and stood an embarrassing 18 runs shy of their target.

Sterner stuff was demanded and it was met with relief when Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Denesh Ramdin obliged in a battle to safety. A missed run-out chance aside, the two played sensibly and ran down the total without further loss. Ramdin restored some dominance to the scenario with consecutive boundaries to seal the fate. Bolstered by their fast bowling revival, West Indies now move on to the better regarded and different challenges of the tour. And with South Africa undoubtedly keen to restore faith in their ability against pace, a difficult test lies ahead in the Tests and one-day internationals.

South Africa 58-8 (13 overs)
Johan Botha 28*
Jerome Taylor 3-6

West Indies 60-5 (9.5 overs)
Runako Morton 20, Denesh Ramdin 12*
Dale Steyn 4-9

West Indies won by 5 wickets.
Cricket Web Man of the Match: Jerome Taylor (WI; 3-1-6-3)

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