South Africa top group, Bangladesh’s World Cup dream nearly over (Round-up)

March 19th, 2011 - 7:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, March 19 (IANS) South Africa again gave ominous signals to their rivals in the knockout stage as they sent Bangladesh packing out of the World Cup with a second-string bowling attack in their last Group B game here Saturday.

The visitors rode on a top-order flourish to pile up 284 for eight, and then shot out the hosts for a miserable 78 in 28 overs to finish as group toppers. The win brought an anti-climactic end to a game that had seen passions among the home crowd run high in the lead up to the match at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium.

Spearheaded by a 3/14 effort from World Cup debutant pacer Lonwabo Tsotsobe, who was later adjudged Man of the Match, the South Africans cantered to a huge 206-run victory to make it one of the biggest mismatches not only of the World Cup, but ODI cricket as well.

South Africa, who were the first team to romp into the quarters, would now play the fourth placed side from Group A, West Indies or England, for a semi-final berth.

Left-arm seamer Tsotsobe, who got into the side as the Proteas decided to rest their crack pace duo of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, broke the back of the Bangladesh batting by picking up openers Tamim Iqbal (5), Imrul Kayes (4) and Shahriar Nafees (5) in his second, third and fourth overs.

The Cup co-hosts were down to 21/4 inside eight overs and the crowd started to leave, realising their dream was all but over. Bangladesh never recovered from the early jolts. There were no second comings like in the match against England.

In the end, except a gritty 30 from skipper Shakib-al Hasan, no other batsmen reached the double figures, as they surrendered without a fight to the pace and spin might of the South Africans.

Left-arm spinner Robin Peterson, who followed up on Tsotsobe’s initial burst by snaring the Bangladesh middle and lower order, finished as the most successful South African bowler (4/12).

The Bangladesh collapse was on the lines of their crash against the West Indies, though arithmetically a shade better than their nightmarish batting show in their earlier group game March 4. The hosts then were skittled out for 58 after batting first at the same venue.

Thus Bangladesh finished their group engagements with six points — same as fourth placed West Indies. But the huge difference in their run rate makes Bangladesh’s quarterfinal hopes a mathematical possibility.

The Caribbeans, who face India on the morrow, need to lose by a huge margin to pave the way for Bangladesh to move up. Bangladesh’s loss also ensured quarter-final berths for India and England.

Earlier, the South African innings centred around half-centuries from Jacques Kallis (69), Faf du Plessis (52) and Hashim Amla (51) and two good partnerships that saw them reach 284/8 and set Bangladesh an asking rate of 5.7 in a must-win situation.

Electing to bat, South Africa had a solid foundation, as Amla scored his second half-century (51 balls, 6×4) and skipper Graeme Smith seemed to return to form with 45 — his highest in the ongoing World Cup. The openers gave a rollicking start, getting 33 in five overs, and finally added 98 runs in 21 overs.

Smith departed trying to force the pace as he danced down the wicket but failed to reach the delivery of Mahmudullah and wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim did the rest.

Amla threw away his wicket a little later as he inside-edged a benign delivery from Abdur Razzak onto the stumps. South Africa were then 107/2, but the two openers had fulfilled their task.

Pacer Rubel Hossain tasted success in his second spell as he saw the back of Jean-Paul Duminy (17), who had cracked a match-winning 99 in his side’s previous outing against Ireland Tuesday, with a caught-and-bowled effort.

Kallis and Plessis then combined for a 82-run stand for the fourth wicket that took South Africa past 200 and set the stage for the batsmen to go all out in the slog overs.

Old warhorse Kallis, who has had an ordinary World Cup so far with the bat, played a flawless well-paced knock, picking the gaps and hitting the loose deliveries on way to his second half-century of the tournament. The 34-year-old faced 76 balls and hit five fours and a six.

Rubel finished as Bangladesh’s most successful bowler with 3/56.

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