AB, Amla combine to crush Netherlands
AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla combined for a record partnership as South Africa crushed the Netherlands by 231 runs in their World Cup Group B match at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali, India, on Thursday.
Amla and De Villiers plundered 221 runs for the third-wicket, off just 177 balls, as South Africa racked up 351 for five.
The Netherlands’ reply never really took off and they were eventually bowled out for 120 in 34.5 overs with leg-spinner Imran Tahir picking up three for 19.
"It wasn't easy up front. There was a little bit of juice in the wicket," said South African skipper Graeme Smith, praising Amla and de Villiers.
"Once we set the platform it was about making it count and the two of them definitely did that."
Losing captain Peter Borren said such a thumping defeat was hard to take but his side were still learning by playing against the top sides.
"I think we learn more from playing against this type of opposition... than playing against each other as associates," he said.
De Villiers and Amla’s partnership was the best third-wicket stand for South Africa in one-day international cricket eclipsing the previous best of 186 scored by De Villiers and Albie Morkel against Zimbabwe in Harare in 2007.
De Villiers was in scintillating form and he brought up his second ton of this year’s World Cup off 88 deliveries before being run out for 134.
De Villiers struck 13 fours and four sixes during his 98-ball innings and he helped to take some of the pressure off Amla, who made a scratchy start to his knock.
Amla was relatively pedestrian compared to De Villiers but he began to look increasingly comfortable at the crease before being dismissed for 113 off 130 balls after scoring eight fours.
The Netherlands won the toss and elected to field on an overcast morning and the decision looked to have been a good one as South Africa struggled to 58 for two in the 16th over.
Graeme Smith (20) was bowled by medium-pacer Bernard Loots while Jacques Kallis (two) was caught down the leg side by keeper Wesley Barresi off the bowling of seamer Ryan ten Doeschate.
But De Villiers and Amla first steadied the ship and then, as the sun came out and batting became a touch easier, launched a savage assault on the bowlers.
The Proteas scored 136 runs off the last 10 overs of their innings despite Amla being caught at point off Ten Doeschate and De Villiers being run out at the non-striker’s end after trying to pinch a second run to Berend Westdijk at long-on.
JP Duminy and Faf du Plessis built on the good work started by Amla and De Villiers by hammering 66 runs off 4.1 overs for the fifth wicket with Duminy in particularly destructive mood as he bludgeoned 40 off 15 balls.
Duminy fell in the last over, caught at deep midwicket off Ten Doeschate, after belting two fours and four sixes while Du Plessis was not out on 18.
Ten Doeschate was the most successful bowler for the Netherlands with figures of three for 72 off 10 overs while seamer Mudassar Bukhari was the most impressive of the Dutch bowlers with his 10 overs costing just 44 runs.
The Netherlands would have been reasonably happy with their innings when they reached 81 for two but they proceeded to lose eight wickets for the addition of just 39 runs after the introduction of South Africa’s spinners into the attack.
Left-arm spinner Robin Peterson finished with figures of two for 22 while part-time off-spinner Duminy also chipped in with a wicket.
Tahir then claimed the last three wickets to fall to continue his dream start in international cricket and he has taken his tally of World Cup wickets to seven in two games.
Kallis had impressed as first change bowler as he sent down a spell of two for 19 off six overs while only Barresi, with 44, provided much resistance with the bat.
The win moves South Africa to the top of Group B on four points after two games, one point ahead of India.
The Proteas’ next fixture is against England on Sunday.
South Africa – Graeme Smith (capt), Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers (wk), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Morne van Wyk, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.
Netherlands - Alexei Kervezee, Wesley Barresi (wk), Tom Cooper, Ryan ten Doeschate, Bas Zuiderent, Tom de Grooth, Peter Borren (capt), Mudassar Bukhari, Pieter Seelaar, Bernard Loots, Berend Westdijk.