Amla ton helps South Africa to 201-run win over Ireland
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Hashim Amla’s 20th one-day international century set South Africa on course for its second successive 400-plus total and a 201-run win over Ireland in the Cricket World Cup on Tuesday.
Amla (159) and Faf Du Plessis (109) shared a 247-run second-wicket stand before Rilee Rossouw (61 not out) and David Miller (46 not out) added an unbroken 110-run stand in the last eight overs to lift South Africa to 411-4, beating its own mark — set last Friday — for the second-highest cup total.
It also made South Africa the first team to post back-to-back totals above 400 in ODIs.
“The guys stuck to their guns really well. We started off exceptionally well with a great partnership between Faf and Hash,” South Africa skipper AB de Villiers said. “When you get a partnership of 200-plus in an ODI, you’re always going to get yourself into a good position as a batting unit, and we find ourselves in a great position going into the last 15 overs.
“What pleases me about our batting is we did it our way — we’re not trying to follow someone else’s strategy, we followed our game plans, and what we believe works for us.”
Ireland was in trouble early in its reply with leading batsmen Paul Stirling (9), Williams Porterfield (12) and Ed Joyce (0) out in the first five overs as the score slipped to 21-3, with Dale Steyn (2-39 ) and Kyle Abbott (4-21) getting right on top. Andy Balbirnie (58) and Kevin O’Brien (48) prolonged the innings before Ireland was all out for 210 after 45 overs.
The South Africans have responded superbly to a lopsided 130-run loss to defending champion India in Melbourne on Feb. 22, when they were bowled out for 177.
They blew away the West Indies by 257 runs in Sydney last Friday, when AB de Villiers struck an unbeaten 162 off 66 balls in a total of 408-5 — then second only to India’s 413-5 against Bermuda in 2007 on the list of highest totals at the tournament.
After just a three-day break, South Africa’s batting lineup turned it on again.
This time, though, it wasn’t de Villiers doing all the damage.
Opener Amla punished Ireland for a dropped catch when he was on 10, scoring a career-best 159 from 128 balls, and hitting 16 boundaries and 4 sixes as he controlled the partnership with du Plessis, after the pair joined in the third over with the total at 12. His 20 ODI centuries have come in 111 matches, making him the fastest batsman to that milestone.
Du Plessis was out with the total at 259, and Amla continued with de Villiers, who scored 24 from nine balls, until a double breakthrough within three balls from Andy McBrine (2-63) in the 42nd over temporarily slowed the South African onslaught.
“There was disappointment, but we couldn’t dwell on it. We had to get on with it,” Ireland captain William Porterfield said of the dropped catch. “You want to be taking your chances, but that’s part of cricket as well. We’ve got to move on from that.”
Ed Joyce, who dropped the catch at mid-wicket off Kevin O’Brien’s bowling in the sixth over, held on to the chance at long-off when Amla stepped down the pitch and lofted a McBrine ball into the deep.
De Villiers clubbed two sixes and a boundary in his nine balls before he top-edged an attempted reverse sweep from McBrine to Niall O’Brien at backward point with the total 301.
The fifth-wicket pair took up the attack, with Rossouw hitting six boundaries and three sixes from his 30 balls, and Miller also scoring at a strike-rate of 200.
South Africa is “setting up a bit of a platform, and obviously Hashim at the top was a massive player for them,” Porterfield said. “To knock them back, you’re going to have to take wickets early.”