Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
South Africa stand-in captain Hashim Amla and batsman Rilee Rossouw both scored centuries to help their side breeze past the West Indies by 131 runs in the fifth ODI in Centurion.
However, West Indies all-rounder Marlon Samuels deserves some credit for his valiant half-century.
After the game had been cut down to 42 overs per side due to heavy rain, Amla would have been mulling over his decision to bat first after opening batsman Quinton de Kock was caught by Jonathan Carter at point off the bowling of West Indies skipper Jason Holder for four runs.
Amla and Faf du Plessis made up for the early loss of de Kock with a 53-run partnership before du Plessis was caught by Sheldon Cottrell at deep fine leg off the bowling of Andre Russell for 16.
Amla and Rossouw kept the runs flowing with a 247-run partnership, which is now the highest stand any South African pair have put together in ODI history.
During their record-breaking stand, Amla brought up his 19th ODI century and Rossouw his second, before Rossouw was caught by Carter at deep midwicket off the bowling of Russell.
Rossouw’s career-best knock of 132 came off 98 balls and included nine boundaries and eight sixes.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Amla went on to score 133 off 105 deliveries, which included 11 boundaries and six sixes, before he was cleaned bowled by Russell.
David Miller made a quickfire 23 before he was caught behind off the bowling of Holder.
Thanks to Amla and Rossouw, South Africa finished on 361/5 off their 42 overs.
Russell was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Holder chipped in with two.
Chasing 362 to win, the West Indies got off to the worst possible start as Kyle Abbott dismissed Chris Gayle off the very first ball of the innings.
Dwayne Smith and Narsingh Deonarine stabilised the innings with a 77-run partnership before Smith was given out lbw off the bowling of Aaron Phangiso for 31.
Deonarine ended up making 43 runs before he was run out by Amla.
Samuels and Denesh Ramdin steadied the innings with a 91-run partnership, during which Samuels registered his half-century, before he was clean bowled by Abbott.
Samuels’ solid knock of 50 came off 47 balls and included one boundary and four sixes.
Following Samuels’ dismissal, the West Indies’ middle and lower order collapsed as they went from 172/4 to being bowled out for 230.
Wayne Parnell was the most successful bowler with four wickets, while Abbott snapped up two and Phangiso, Farhaan Behardien and Marchant de Lange claimed one wicket each.
Holder was disappointed to have lost again, and said: “We just let it slip in the middle and we didn’t really bowl well. I’ve learn a lot and we didn’t fix the rift boxes, we were’t consistent and lost wickets at regular intervals. Our batsmen need to take responsibility and they need to bat till the end. A few guys will be coming in for the World Cup and I’m very confident of our chances. A lot of guys came here for the first time and it was a good learning tour.”
Amla, who was named Man of the Series, was ecstatic to have won the series 4-1, and said: “Wonderful series and we played excellent cricket as the guys put their hands up. Rossouw is a wonderful player, it’s difficult to stop him once he gets going, he’s a clean striker of the ball. Nice to get the ball away while batting and set a platform with a partnership with Rossouw. We wanted to give a chance to everyone and Parnell put his hand up, Phangi bowled well too. While batting we were only trying to hit every ball for a boundary and it turned out well. There [were times] in the series when we were under pressure but having everyone in good nick is good for our chances in the World cup. Everybody is ready to go and hopefully we’ll make it a special one for South Africa.”
Rossouw was named Man of the Match, and said: “It’s very emotional for me and anyone scoring a hundred for his country will be emotional. I was feeling very relaxed and just in the zone and calm before the match. I’ve worked hard and lucky that it came off [at the] Wanderers and today and [hopefully there are] many more to come. I tried to be a little disciplined initially but my natural games takes over later on. Amla’s like a rock and and he makes me very calm at the other end. It doesn’t matter how long it takes for a hundred as long as you get it.”