Any lingering doubts that South Africa would confirm their place in the quarter-finals at the #Cricket World Cup, were dispelled today as they comfortably overcame the minnows from the United Arab Emirates, claiming a solid 146-run victory in Wellington. Another sparkling innings from AB de Villiers lit up the Proteas' challenging total of 341-6, which the UAE side were always struggling to chase in reply, limping along to 195 all out. South Africa now would seem likely to finish second in Pool B, with UAE looking destined for last place in the group and probably returning home with no points from their six games.
South Africa are still many people's tip for the World Cup title, with their combination of belligerent batsmen and quality bowlers, in addition to being no slouches in the field neither. Batting first against the UAE, they had been reduced to 96-3 before a fourth-wicket stand of 108 set them well on their way to a good total. Captain de Villiers top scored and almost claimed another ODI century, falling on 99 to the bowling of Kamran Shazad. He was well backed up by Rilee Rossouw's 43 and David Miller's 49, as the middle order batsmen all contributed solidly to the cause. Additional weight was added to the total by a fine knock from Farhaan Behardien (64) batting at number seven, who faced just 31 balls in his innings. Mohammed Naveed was UAE's leading wicket taker on the day, claiming a respectable 3-63 from his ten over stint.
UAE struggled for the main part in their innings, although Swapnil Patil contributed a handy 57 and Shaiman Anwar scored 39. They were ultimately dismissed for 195 in 47.3 overs, knowing that their fate was to suffer a fifth straight defeat in the competition, well before the end. De Villiers rotated his bowlers astutely, using seven men in all to fill out the overs. The wickets were also shared among the bowling unit, with Vernon Philander (2-34), Morne Morkel (2-23) and de Villiers (2-15) himself all enjoying themselves at their opponent's expense.
South Africa have now completed their group matches, with four wins from six games. It has been a bit of a mixture in truth so far in the competition, with a heavy defeat against the unbeaten Indians in match two being particularly hard to comprehend. At least they will feel more confident going into the quarter-finals after narrowly losing to the Pakistan side last time out. They can also look back on two 400 plus scores against the West Indies and Ireland as proof that their batting is in decent shape.
UAE still have a game against the West Indies to play on Saturday, but seem destined to leave the tournament with six defeats, unless they can stem the Windies' scoring it would seem, something they were unable to achieve against South Africa.