Ireland were unable to continue their unbeaten run at the ODI World Cup, as they were hammered by a rampant South African side who surpassed 400 runs yet again in the tournament. With a target of 412 for victory facing them, the men from the Emerald Isle were never in contention as they slipped to a 201-run defeat. Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis both scored fine centuries for the Proteas to ensure that they would post a formidable total, with their bowlers then ensuring that there would be no way back for the Irish as Kyle Abbott and Morne Morkel feasted on the wickets.
The Irish went into the game with a healthy one hundred per cent record in Pool B, with two victories from their first two games against the UAE and more surprisingly the West Indies. That success over the Windies may well prove decisive in taking them through to the quarter-finals, but they always knew that the South Africans would prove tough opponents in their latest match..
So it proved, as batting first in Canberra the South Africans piled on the runs to post a mammoth 411-4 from their 50 overs. The main contributor to the score was not AB de Villiers for once, who made just 24 this time after his recent whirlwind 150 against the West Indies. Instead it was the trusted opener Amla who enjoyed his time at the crease, scoring 159 himself and sharing in a magnificent 247-run partnership for the second wicket with du Plessis. The pair came together after the early dismissal of Quinton de Kock when the score was just twelve. Amla was dropped by the Irish when he had only scored 10 and punished them severely thereafter, scoring his highest one-day innings from 128 balls faced. Du Plessis was happy to let Amla dominate the scoring as he contributed 109 in addition. When those two were out, the damage to the Irish bowling did not let up, with Rilee Rossouw (61) and David Miller (46) both not out at the close. Their unbeaten fifth-wicket century partnership ensured that their side would exceed 400 yet again in the tournament.
It proved to be a chastening experience for the bowlers, faced with the onslaught from their opponents.
Kevin O'Brien seemed to be particularly targeted, being spared from finishing out his overs, he still leaked 95 runs from just 7 overs bowled.
In reply, Ireland slumped to the impossible position of 48-5, with only an 81-run sixth-wicket partnership saving them their blushes. Their main resilience came from Andrew Balbirnie's stubborn knock of 58. They were eventually bowled out in the 45th over for 210, well short of the required total. Abbott returned 4-21, with Morkel 3-24 backing him up well in the bowling stakes, as the South Africans seemed intent on trying out their various bowling permutations and options, as eight bowlers in total were utilised. #Cricket