South Africa in semifinal after thrilling tie

West Indies chase ends with scores tied by D/L method in rain-affected match

Persistent rain looked like it would wash out the virtual quarterfinal between South Africa and West Indies in Group B of the ICC Champions Trophy, but the skies cleared up with enough time left for a curtailed game at Cardiff on Friday (June 14) afternoon. In the end though, with an edge-of-the-seat contest well underway, the rain returned to ruin West Indies’ hopes and helped South Africa scrape into the semifinals after the match ended in a tie via the Duckworth-Lewis method.  

The rain came down for one last, telling time, right after Kieron Pollard was dismissed by Ryan McLaren, leaving West Indies 190 for 6 in 26.1 overs – the exact par score, after South Africa had made 230 for 6 in its allotted 31 overs.  

Batting first, South Africa rode on Colin Ingram’s quickfire half-century and contributions from the middle order. Dwayne Bravo got the first bit right by winning the toss, but after that Ingram took the West Indies bowlers head on.  

It started relatively slowly with Tino Best, replacing the indisposed Kemar Roach, bowling with fire and touching 150kph and Ravi Rampaul complementing him. At no stage did South Africa bat slowly, but once the non-specialist bowlers came on, the scoring rate picked up noticeably and Ingram was clearly the aggressor. Hashim Amla played his part but fell when he drove Marlon Samuels uppishly to Chris Gayle at cover, Gayle taking the catch in his third attempt.  

Amla had scored 23 in 27 balls, and by the time he went back, Ingram had reached 51 in 46 balls. But just as Ingram and AB de Villiers, who hit the ground running and was motoring along, looked like they would take the match away from the West Indians, everything changed, and it happened in the space of less than five overs. Ingram went first, Darren Bravo holding on to a mistimed hoick off Pollard after Ingram had scored 73, followed by JP Duminy for two and then de Villiers for a 26-ball 37, Darren Bravo taking a spectacular catch off Ravi Rampaul’s bowling to the right of midwicket. Faf du Plessis and David Miller then took on the responsibility to see to it that a good start wasn’t wasted. The two got together at 153 for 4 in the 23rd over and by the time both were dismissed in the last over, they had ensured South Africa had a healthy total on the board. Du Plessis was run out after a 32-ball 35, while Miller, who hit three sixes along the way, was out after a 29-ball 38.  

The West Indies chase was a two-pronged one. It was chasing both 231 to go past South Africa’s total and the D/L par score. The commitment was clearly there. Johnson Charles, with a 26-ball 16, couldn’t get a move on, but there were key contributions from Gayle (36 in 27 balls) and Devon Smith (30 in 29 balls) before Samuels took charge of the situation.  

But well as Samuels batted for his 38-ball 48, an innings that included six fours and two sixes, it was his wicket, bowled middle stump by Dale Steyn in the 24th over, that set West Indies behind the D/L par score. Pollard then dragged his side back into the contest and was going great guns in collaboration with Dwayne Bravo till he fell, caught at third man by Steyn off McLaren for a 23-ball 28.  

And as luck would have it, that’s when the skies opened up again. If Pollard hadn’t been dismissed and West Indies had been 190 for 5, they would have won because the par score with five wickets lost was 187. But at 190 for 6, the scores were tied and that meant South Africa, by virtue of a superior net run-rate, was through to the semifinals at West Indies’ 

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