De Villiers, Behardien help Proteas crush UAE by 146 runs

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Wellington, March 12 (IANS) Skipper A.B. de Villiers (82-ball 99) and Farhaan Behardien (64 not out in 31 balls) helped South Africa defeat the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by 146 runs in a cricket World Cup Pool A game at the Westpac Stadium here on Thursday.

Continuing his rich form, de Villiers flayed the UAE bowlers and milked six fours and four sixes. He took his tally of sixes in the tournament to 20 — the highest in a World Cup. Australian left-handed opener Matthew Hayden hit 18 sixes in the 2007 World Cup.

The 31-year-old skipper forged a 108-run partnership with David Miller (48) for the fourth wicket. That set up the stage for right-hander Behardien to come out all guns blazing. South Africa posted 341/6 in 50 overs.

In reply, South African three right-arm pacers — Morne Morkel (2/23), Vernon Philander (2/34) and Dale Steyn (1/40) — generated a lot of pace, swing and bounce and were all over the UAE. They never allowed a partnership to flourish and it resulted in the UAE getting bowled out for 195 in 47.3 overs.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Swapnil Patil (57 not out) and Shaiman Anwar (39) provided some resistance. India-born Patil registered his second One-Day International (ODI) fifty.

But it was always a tough task for them to overhaul the big target against the high-quality bowling line-up the Proteas possess.

Man-of-the-match De Villiers also contributed with the ball, removing two UAE batsmen. Spinners Imran Tahir and Jean-Paul Duminy took a wicket each.

With this win, South Africa consolidated their second position in Pool B with four wins from six matches. They entered the quarter-finals, while the UAE slumped to their fifth consecutive loss.

Earlier, barring Hashim Amla (12), most of the batsmen chipped in with crucial contributions. Though young wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock (26) recorded his highest score in the tournament, pressure will increase on him to make way for Faf du Plessis in the quarter-finals.

The 22-year-old left-hander played 45 deliveries and stitched a 68-run stand with Rilee Rossouw (43) before Amjad Javed dismissed the former in the 16th over. Rossouw also didn’t last long and fell in the 19th over bowled by off-spinner Mohammad Tauqir.

With South Africa at 96/3, left-hander Miller joined his skipper in the middle and the duo scored at a good pace. Meanwhile De Villiers scored his 45th ODI fifty in 54 balls. He and Miller took their team to 198/3 in 35 overs.

Medium pacer Mohammad Naveed went through Miller’s defence and that brought Duminy (23) to the middle. The left-hander was involved in a 53-run partnership with de Villiers before the latter fell one run short of what could have been his 21st ODI century.

Later, Behardien raced to a 27-ball 50. He collected 23 runs in the final over bowled by Javed. With the help of five fours and three sixes, he registered his third ODI fifty as South Africa scored 101 runs in the final 10 overs. It proved to be too much for the UAE.

For the UAE, Naveed took three wickets, while Javed, Tauqir and Kamran Shazad picked a wicket each.

Brief scores: South Africa 341/6 (A.B. de Villiers 99, Farhaan Behardien 64 not out; Mohammad Naveed 3/63) beat United Arab Emirates 195 (Swapnil Patil 57 not out, Shaiman Anwar 39; De Villiers 2/15, Morne Morkel 2/23, Vernon Philander 2/34).

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