| Al-Shahriar gets knocked by a Makhaya Ntini bouncer at the Goodyear Park in Bloemfontein Saturday. (AFP)
Bloemfontein: South Africa kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup’s Super Six stage with a crushing 10-wicket victory over Bangladesh in their group B match on Saturday.
In reply to Bangladesh’s paltry 108 all out in 35.1 overs, South Africa coasted home with 38 overs to spare, openers Herschelle Gibbs (49 not out) and Gary Kirsten (52 not out) cashing in on some loose bowling at Goodyear Park.
Both batsmen were in flowing form against a toothless Bangladesh attack and Gibbs brought up South Africa’s fifty in only the sixth over, hammering Khaled Mahmood through the covers for his fifth boundary.
Kirsten moved to his own half-century with two fours and a six off consecutive deliveries from the left-arm spin of Mohammed Rafique, his 52 coming off 32 balls with nine boundaries and a six.
Gibbs faced 40 balls, hitting eight fours and a six.
Their century partnership was their ninth in one-day Internationals, moving them into third place above Australia’s Mark Waugh and Adam Gilchrist in the all-time standings.
India’s Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly head the list with 17 hundred partnerships, with the West Indian pair of Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes second on 15.
It was a professional allround display by South Africa against one of the minnows of group B, having set their stall on improving their net run rate to enhance their prospects of securing a place in the tournament’s second phase.
Earlier, Makhaya Ntini took four for 24 as the Bangladesh batting collapsed for the third time in four matches, captain Khaled Mashud (29) and Mahmood (23) the only batsmen to offer some resistance. South Africa gave little indication they might be missing the services of 36-year-old fast bowler Allan Donald, left out of the side in favour of 20-year-old paceman Monde Zondeki.
Donald has been struggling for form in the tournament and his omission could well signal the end of the road for South Africa’s most successful Test and one-day bowler. But Donald or no Donald, Bangladesh never looked likely to mount a serious challenge with the bat.
Their troubles began early when opener Al-Shahriar played a flat-footed swipe at Pollock and was comfortably caught by Robin Peterson at mid off to depart for a duck. Al-Sahariar’s reckless shot selection set the tone for the rest of the innings. Andrew Hall and Zondeki maintained the pressure, snapping up three more wickets as Bangladesh slumped to 33 for five.
However a partnership of 23 for the sixth wicket between captain Mashud and Tushar Imran (9) took the Bangladesh past 50. Mashud continued his defiance with Mahmood, the pair adding 35 before Mashud was caught behind in the first over of Ntini’s second spell. After Rafique (1) was run out after a farcical mix-up with Mahmood, Ntini had Monjurul Islam well caught by Boeta Dippenaar at third slip for a duck. Mahmood weighed in with some powerful blows to guide Bangladesh past 100, but handed Ntini his fourth wicket when he carved the fast bowler to third man to end the innings.
“I think it’s important for Allan to have another run to try and get some confidence going,” said Pollock. “But it’s also important from the perspective of our 15-man squad to give everyone a chance. I think the guys who had an outing are really happy with the way it went. It was nice to get some overs in the middle for them.”
For Pollock, the single blemish in South Africa’s rout of Bangladesh was the high extras tally of 20, including eight no-balls and eight wides. “That was the only disappointing part today — the wides and no-balls — and that is something we need to address,” he said.