#CWC15: Amla and du Plessis set up 200-run win over Ireland

MATCH 24: Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis centuries enabled South Africa to beat Ireland by 201 runs in their ICC World Cup Pool B match at Canberra on Tuesday.

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The Proteas set a record for posting 400 runs totals in back-to-back matches and have now drawn level with India with five totals in excess of this milestone. They are also the second team after Australia to post 200-run wins in successive World Cup matches.

“I was happy with the performance and I like the way we did it our way with the bat, we are not following anyone else’s formula,” said AB de Villiers, the South African captain. “We have scored a lot of hundreds over the last 18 months and it’s something we are very proud of.

“Hashim and Faf were incredible today. I am very pleased with all the bowlers today, they stayed positive throughout the innings.”

Faf du Plessis in full swing on his way to a century

The Proteas once again followed their blueprint of laying a solid foundation with Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis sharing a South African second-wicket record stand of 247, beating the previous mark of 207 set by Gary Kirsten and Neil McKenzie against Kenya in 2001. Both scored centuries – Amla getting his 20th and finishing with a career best 159 off 128 balls, 16 fours and 4 sixes and Du Plessis his fourth (109 off 109 balls, 10 fours and a six).

As usual Amla reached the milestone of 20 centuries far quicker than anybody else in the history of the game.

By far the most important statistic, however, was the fact that the Proteas scored more than 200 runs (230) for the second match in a row in the final 20 overs. Everybody has been talking about getting 100 in the final 10 but the Proteas have now taken this to a new level with 100 runs in each of the last 10 overs.

Once again they constructed an excellent batting power play, following up their 72 for none against the West Indies between overs 36 and 40 with 69 for one against Ireland in the same grouping of overs.

Equally impressive was the fact that they reached 400 with a negligible contribution from AB de Villiers although he and Amla shared a stand of 40 in 2.3 overs.

It was left to Rilee Rossouw and David Miller to finish the innings in style with an unbroken partnership of 110 in 8.3 overs. Rossouw contributed 61 (30 balls, 6 fours and 3 sixes) and Miller 46 off 23 (4 fours and 2 sixes).

Morne Morkel celebrates a wicket

The pace trio then virtually settled the game in the 10 overs statutory power play, taking 4 wickets between them, allowing De Villiers the luxury of experimenting with his part-time bowling options. He himself bowled two overs, Du Plessis 4 and Rossouw 2 and, together with Farhaan Behardien’s 2, this amounted to the fifth bowler taking 1 for 63 between them.

This was the only stage at which the Irish batsmen were able to get into the game with Andy Ballbirnie and Kevin O’Brien sharing a stand of 81 in 15.3 overs for the sixth wicket.

Kyle Abbott, like Rossouw, continues to present an impelling case for a starting berth in a full-strength XI while Dale Steyn celebrated his 100thODI in emphatic style. The more he bowls the better he will get and he is honing in nicely for the knock-out stage of the competition.

The Proteas are in second place in Pool B behind India with a positive net run rate of almost 2. They now return to New Zealand for their next match against Pakistan at Auckland on Saturday.

“We got the one early breakthrough but once those lads got settled on this deck it was tough to claw it back,” said Ireland captain, Will Porterfield. “It was a very good pitch and it was tough to try and muscle up those wickets.

“They bowled well first up, but all credit to our lower order for sticking it out for so long. The Zimbabwe match is a huge one.”

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James Buttler

James has been working as a journalist and broadcaster in cricket since 2006 and was an avid fan for many years before that.
As the editor of World Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
He is also the presenter of the Cricket Badger Radio Show on Radio Yorkshire every Tuesday evening between 7-9pm UK time.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author, a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications and a complete cricket badger!

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