South Africa sail into Super 8

South Africa secured their place in the Super Eights of the World Cup with a rout of minnows Scotland. South African captain Graeme Smith hit a thunderous 91 as the top ranked ODI side in the world reached their target of 187 in less than half the alloted 50 oversfor their innings.

Upon winning the toss, Smith gave his bowlers the opportunity to make the headlines first after it was the South African batsmen who stole the show against the Netherlands. The Scottish openers, Duncan Watts (24) and Majid Haq (13), stood firm in the face of the new ball, though. The pair set a solid start for the minnows with a partnership of 35 and Watts even pulled fast bowler Makhaya Ntini off the front for 6.

However, first and second change bowlers Andrew Hall and Charl Langeveldt struck with their second and first balls, respectively, to account for both openers within 3 overs. Scotland’s most experienced batsmen Ryan Watson and Gavin Hamilton were brought together once both openers had departed. However, whilst stand-in captain Watson raced into the twenties, Hamilton (4) poked around for a spell before driving Hall to AB de Villiers’ safe hands in the covers.

With the quick wickets, South Africa succeeded in tying the Scots down. McCallum was frustrated into making a mistake and getting bowled by Langeveldt after scoring 1 off 21 to leave Scotland in the mire at 71-4. Enter Dougie Brown. The veteran Warwickshire allrounder battled hard for 45 not out, steering the Scotland innings towards respectability.

Despite the run out of Ryan Watson at the hands of the excellent AB de Villiers in the covers for 31, the Scottish tail managed to support Brown in pushing the score to 186, Scotland’s highest ever score in their World Cup history. Last man Paul Hoffmann in particlar caused a stir, audacialiously cutting Charl Langeveledt over third man for six and backing it up with consecutive fours before being run out to end the innings.

In reply, South Africa’s openers, Smith and de Villiers, tore into the Scottish attack. Chasing what may be considered an easy target, the pair savagely punished the Scottish seamers for too often overpitching, straying onto the legside or pushing the ball too wide. 98 runs were bludgeoned off the first 12 overs off the seamers, with Smith striking the majority of them. The South African captain brought up his 50 in just 36 balls when Dewald Nel served up a full toss which was whipped through midwicket.

The introduction of spin from both ends hardly stemmed the flow of runs either. Although Australian born Glenn Rogers managed to end de Villiers’ innings, the batsman’s downfall came in looking for a third six in the one Rogers over and finding Brown at long on.

The game was long gone at this point. And after a short rain break, the South Africans picked up where they left off and finished the game with no further delays. Smith missed out on a hundred – slogging the shellshocked spinner Majid Haq to Rogers with just nine needed for both the milestone and the victory. Big hitter Justin Kemp closed the match in style anyway, with a huge six back over Rogers’ head to bring up the winning runs and secure South Africa’s progression with one game in hand, against tournament favourites Australia.

Scotland 186 all out
Dougie Brown 45*, Ryan Watson 31
Andrew Hall 3-48, Charl Langeveldt 2-48

South Africa 187-3
Graeme Smith 91, AB de Villiers 62
Majid Haq 2-43, Glenn Rogers 1-47

South Africa won by 7 wickets

Cricket Web Player of the Match – Graeme Smith 91 (65)

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