Prince steers SA to victory

South Africa have gone 4 – 0 up in the ODI series versus the West Indies after completing a 6 wicket win at Queen’s Park, Port of Spain.

After a turbulent build-up to the match, including the 4-match banning of Graeme Smith for slow over rates and persistent questioning of the home team’s line-up, both sides were keen to put the media frenzy behind them and focus on securing the match.

After winning the toss, stand-in South Africa captain Shaun Pollock sent the West Indies in, confident that his side would have no problem chasing down a total, as they had done throughout the series.

Star speedster Makhaya Ntini got the visitors off to a perfect start, claiming the scalps of Chris Gayle and Xavier Marshall, both for 3, in just his first two overs. Brian Lara then strode out with the goal of silencing his critics. Today, however, was not his day. While on 22, he scooped a risky drive off Andre Nel to Ashwell Prince, who took a decent catch over his shoulder, leaving the score on 61/3.

A partnership of 50 between captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan steadied the ship before Sarwan was dismissed by Kallis for 48 with the score on 111. At the other end, Chanderpaul looked solid, refusing to give his wicket away.

Dwayne Bravo hit a quick-fire 28 from 27 balls and Dwayne Smith added 13, including a six over mid-wicket off Ntini. Courtney Browne and Ian Bradshaw then provided some support for Chanderpaul, who ended up with an impressive 85 not out in a total of 8/231.

Ntini was by far the pick of the bowlers with 3/34, Charl Langeveldt also chipped in with 2 wickets.

The South African top order was shaky in the absence of Smith. The top 3, AB de Villiers, Boeta Dippenaar and Jaques Kallis were all dismissed for 17 before the 15-over mark.

The West Indies had the visitors pinned down on 3/61 on a crumbling pitch and their first victory of the series began to seem more and more attainable. However, Prince was at the crease and ended up staying there for the rest of the match.

Armed with patience and determination, he ground out his runs while partner Justin Kemp, who was dropped several times throughout his innings by the nervous West Indian fieldsmen, smashed 65 from 75 balls. When he was finally dismissed by Gayle, the damage had already been done with the score having moved up to 193/4.

Prince and Mark Boucher then finished the job with 3.1 overs to spare. Prince ended up with the Man of the Match award for his terrific 89 not out.

The final match of the series is to be played at the same venue, Trinidad, and will decide wether or not the Windies can take any pride from this South Africa-dominated series.

Match Summary

West Indies: 231/6
Chanderpaul 85*, Sarwan 48, Ntini 3/34

South Africa: 232/4
Prince 89*, Kemp 65

South Africa win by 6 wickets with 3.1 overs to spare

South Africa take a 4 – 0 lead in the 5-match series

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