West Indies v South Africa, Match Report
Bryan Davis - 11 March 1996
Slow bowlers of W.I. did the trick
Karachi, March 11: West Indies romped home by 19 runs to qualify for the semifinal in the World Cup 1996.
Richie Richardson won the toss and elected to bat on the plumbest wicket he would have seen for the tournament so far. The day was bright and sunny when yet another new experimental pair of bats- men walked out to open for the West Indies. The opening berth is so tenuous and unsettled that the captain and coach Andy Roberts are still searching for answers.
However, the experienced Roberts who has played 47 Test matches for the West Indies was adamant that a left hand/ right hand pair at the start of an innings helps to put a bowler off and he should know! So they went for Shivnaraine Chanderpaul, the di- minutive Guyanese left-hander who has not been enjoying great success in the middle order in this competition. It worked.
Opening with wicketkeeper Courtney Browne again and leaving out the luckless Sherwin Campbell who has been having a horrid time, the pair put together 42 runs before Browne, whose instruction was obviously to get along with it and to go for his shots was caught at mid-on when trying to hit over the top. This was a cru- cial part of the strategy as the following batsman was no other than Brian Lara, strokemaker extreaordinaire, match - winner and world champion batsman.
To show the extent of the tactical achievement Lara strolled on stage in the sixth over. This gave the little master enough time to settle in as the start was sound. He did not strike his first four until his nineteenth delivery which is very unlike Lara. By the time he was dismissed for 111 in the 40th over the West In- dies total had pushed on to 214 for 4 and the brilliant left- hander had hit 16 fours off only 94 balls in his truly fine in- nings.
This was the platform the West Indies needed to move forward for the kill, although the great advantage seemed to be lost when the next five batsmen were removed in the remaining 10 overs for an addition of only 50 runs. In one particular over, the 28th, and Pat Symcox's sixth Lara almost destroyed the bowler and the con- fidence of the South African team, by blasting five boundaries, four in the arc between the finest third man and cover point and the other when he drove a full toss back over the unfortunate Symcox's head.
Hansie Cronje's plan to include two spinners seemed to have backfired as both Symcox and Paul Adams, the 19-year-old left-arm unorthodox bowler, went for 109 runs off 18 overs but claiming four wickets between them.
Trying to get 265 to secure the semi-final slot was always going to be difficult. It required a strong start but the batsmen ap- peared timid at the start, except Daryll Cullinan, who is surely a class player. But Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh had them tied down, and the innings continually lost momentum. This, therefore, meant that drastic measures had to be taken later on, as the West Indies dominated more and more.
When the middle order folded to occasional left-arm bowler Jimmy Adams and regular off-spinner Roger Harper, it was the slow bowlers of the West Indies that did the trick and not those of the South Africans. In the end they fell short of their target by just 19 runs.
West Indies lifted their game tremendously, especially in the field, where they were devastating, and with this kind of assis- tance bowlers indulge themselves.
But although Chanderpaul was very instrumental with a pleasant knock of 56 which showed sound temperament, the batting of the men from the Caribbean is still too dependent on their famous run-gutter. Their middle order flopped when they should have bat- ted more sensibly and must realise that a single off every ball in the dying stages with the field set wide and far is six runs an over. Then they will be in a position to take advantage of the superlative innings that Brian Lara will play.
A superb match by Richardson and his men that turned the tables on the South Africans in a cruel way being the only match that they have lost in the tournament.
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