West Indies beat South Africa to book final with Australia
West Indies beat South Africa to book final with Australia

West Indies will now face Australia in the Caribbean tri-series final on Sunday night following their comprehensive win over South Africa.

Chasing down a challenging 286 in a virtual semi-final, the South Africans crumbled as their top order failed to live up to the expectations in front of a disciplined line and length bowling performance from the Windies and the deceptive spin of Sunil Narine.

Only some late-order firing from Wayne Parnell, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir gave a mere respectability to the South African innings as they were all out for 185 to gift the hosts victory by an even 100 runs.

Morkel and Tahir fought for a final-wicket stand of 51. What was most embarrassing for the Proteas, it was their highest partnership of the match.

Shannon Gabriel emerged as the destroyer for West Indies, picking up wickets of Quinto de Kock, Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers in his first four overs to force the visitors hobbling at 3-28. The three stars of their batting powerhouse managed to score a combined total of just 11.

Narine then joined the hunting party by removing Hashim Amla and the Proteas lost their way even further when Jason Holder had JP Duminy caught out.

Earlier batting first, the Windies also had gone through a top-order batting collapse, until an outstanding century from Darren Bravo led them to recover and post a challenging 285.

Kagiso Rabada scalped three quick wickets early as West Indies were once languishing for 4-21 only after five overs. AB de Villiers’ decision to field first after winning the toss seemed a masterstroke.

It was Wayne Parnell who made the opening breakthrough before Rabada picked up Johnson Charles and Marlon Samuels in back to back balls. Rabada then bowled Denesh Ramdin in his next over.

But Bravo had some other plans, he stood firm and blasted his way to his third ODI hundred. The innings included 12 fours and four sixes, scoring 102 from 103 balls before he was caught by Faf du Plessis off the bowling of Chris Morris.

Bravo also shared a record fifth-wicket partnership of 156 with Kieron Pollard. The destructive right-hander notched a quick 62 off 71 balls, including seven fours and two sixes.

The lower order showed excellent batting display with captain Jason Holder scoring 40 off 46 balls, and fellow all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite hammering a 33 not out.

Apart from Kagiso Rabada’s 3-31, Chris Morris took 3-63.

After the Caribbeans were sent to bat, left-arm seamer Wayne Parnell did the early damage dismissing Andre Fletcher who was caught behind.

But it was the 21-year-old Rabada who literally silenced the home crowd for the first half hour as the hosts were down to 4-21 after just five overs.

Johnson Charles edged to second slip and Marlon Samuels, fresh from hitting a brilliant century against Australia, was yorked for a first-ball duck.

Denesh Ramdin soon saw his middle stump thrashed and South Africa looked well in control.

But Bravo started to rebuild the innings with fellow Trinidadian Pollard, after surviving a difficult catch at fine leg by Parnell when he was at 11.

Pollard’s excellent half-century finally ended as he was caught at long-on off Morkel.

Bravo was dismissed courtesy a brilliant running catch from Faf du Plessis as he mis-hit Morris over the off side at 6-210.

Holder and Brathwaite then carried out the finishing work by adding 54 for the seventh wicket.

But West Indies have some bad news also, injury concerns looming large ahead of the final: Holder after picking up an injury during West Indies’ defeat to Australia, last night managed the full 10 overs- bowling himself out in one spell – before leaving the field for more treatment. He did return later to ease fears.

Meanwhile, Gabriel also seemed to sustain an injury against the Proteas, bowling only five overs and spent some time off the field during South Africa’s innings.

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