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Windies down and out

Ezra Stuart

Windies down and out

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DISAPPOINTING, demoralising and downright unsatisfactory!Just some of the words from dejected Dominican cricket fans as they left Windsor Park yesterday following another dismal display by West Indies which led to a seven-wicket defeat by South Africa as they failed to defend a 300-run total in the fourth Digicel One-Day International.Even a score of 303 for six in 50 overs, which was built around contrasting half-centuries from Dale Richards and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, still wasn’t enough to give the West Indies an elusive victory over the South Africans, who responded with 304 for three in exactly 50 overs.South Africa’s successful victory chase, achieved off the final ball in a courageous last over by Dwayne Bravo when only three runs were required, gave them a 4-0 lead in the five-match series which end in Trinidad on Thursday.The victory was orchestrated by opener Hashim Amla’s second century of the series as he fashioned a fluent 129, laced with eight fours and two sixes off 115 balls, but the West Indies aided them along the way with an inept fielding performance.At least three chances were spilled while Darren Sammy muffed a run out, fumbling the ball and missing the stumps as the inform AB de Villiers scrambled a cheeky single off the final delivery to finish on 57 not out.Amla, who has pushed his average to 55 in 28 ODIs with scores of 102, 81 and 34 in the three previous innings, paced the Proteas run chase perfectly.He put on 59 in 9.3 overs for the first wicket with his captain Graeme Smith and shared a run-a-ball second-wicket stand of 119 in exactly 20 overs with Jacques Kallis.Cutting, driving and pulling at will, Amla took only 45 balls over his first 50, which included a lofted six to long off in Sammy’s first over.Just after reaching his third ODI century, Amla was badly missed by Richards, who misjudged the ball and it went over his head into the boundary, much to the disappointment of captain Chris Gayle, trundling his off-spin.With left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn, sent off the field after just four overs by Gayle, the captain delivered his full allotment of 10 overs and was finally rewarded with the wicket of Kallis for 51 off 54 balls.When a tiring Amla gave a catch to long-off, de Villiers and JP Duminy – 32 not out – sealed the outcome with an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 80 in 12.4 overs.Duminy was dropped by the Bravo brothers, Dwayne and Darren in consecutive overs before he and de Villiers, virtually settled the match by combining for 18 runs in the 48th over, bowled by medium pacer Kieron Pollard.Earlier, Richards set the tone for the West Indies’ challenging total with an attractive 59 off 73 balls with seven fours and a six, sharing an opening stand of 61 in 10.4 overs with Gayle, who gifted his hand with a big heave after striking four fours in a 28-ball 29.Richards followed a top-edged hook off left-arm pacer Lonwabo Tsotsobe for six with a superb straight drive off the same bowler and unfurled two scintillating square cuts off Morne Morkel and Ryan McLaren for boundaries.After he was brilliantly caught by Smith at a short extra cover position, Chanderpaul was typically solid in compiling 66 off 89 balls, managing a mere three fours, two off consecutive balls with the switch hit in off-spinner Jothan Botha’s final over.The impetus came from the Bravo brothers with Dwayne hitting 46 off 51 balls and younger sibling, Darren stroking an eye-catching 45 not out, embellished by three fours and a one-handed six over long-off from Morkel’s bowling.The shot of the day was probably a classic cover drive off Charl Langeveldt, which brought back memories of his legendary compatriot Brian Lara, but he didn’t face enough balls in the closing overs to reach a half century.The big-hitting Kieron Pollard also clobbered two sixes and a four in one over from Langeveldt before he was bowled for 26 off 18 balls, by the same bowler, who rattled Sammy’s stumps with his next ball.But the task of defending a 300-run total proved too much for the West Indian bowlers and fielders.