ICC World Cup 2015: Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis help Proteas thrash Ireland by 201 runs
Canberra, March 3 (IANS) Top order batsmen Hashim Amla (159) and Faf du Plessis (109) cracked centuries to help South Africa thrash minnows Ireland by 201 runs in a World Cup Pool B game at the Manuka Oval here on Tuesday.
Driven by the 247-run partnership between Amla and du Plessis, their highest in World Cups for the second wicket, South Africa posted 411/4 in 50 overs, the highest total of the current showpiece event.
In their pursuit of the monumental target, Ireland were bowled out for 210 in 45 overs as they crumbled against the pace, swing and bounce generated by three right-arm fast bowlers -- Dale Steyn (2/39), Kyle Abbot (4/21) and Morne Morkle (3/34).
Abbot removed skipper William Porterfield (12), Niall O'Brien (14) and Gary Wilson (0), while Steyn, playing his 100th One-Day International (ODI), got rid of Paul Stirling (9) and Ed Joyce (0) to reduce the minnows to 48/5 by the 11th over.
Andy Balbirnie (58) and experienced Kevin O'Brien (48) exercised damage control, putting up a 81-run stand till Morkel dismissed the former.
Skipper AB de Villiers even rolled his arm to get the wicket of John Mooney (8) before Abbott returned to scalp Kevin. Morkel completed the formalities as he took the wickets of lower order batsmen George Dockrell (25) and Max Sorensen (22).
With the win, the Proteas registered their third victory in four matches, nearing the quarter-finals of the 14-nation tournament. Ireland lost their first match in three games, having beaten the West Indies and the United Arab Emirates.
Earlier, after de Villiers elected to bat, South Africa lost left-handed opener Quinton de Kock (1) with the scoreboard reading 12/1 in 2.3 overs. However, du Plessis joined in-form and right-handed opener Amla in the middle and the duo compiled crafty centuries to put their team on top.
The Proteas smashed the hapless Irish bowlers all around the park and scored at a very good pace. They upped the ante even more after scoring half-centuries and continued to dominate. The 31-year-old Amla scored a run-a-ball century and also became the fastest batsman to register 20 ODI hundreds in just 108 innings.
On the other hand, 30-year-old du Plessis notched up his fourth ODI century. He faced 109 balls and scored 10 fours and a six. He was bowled off a Kevin yorker but not before putting his team in command at 259/2 in the 39th over.
Du Plessis' fall brought big hitting de Villiers to the crease and he didn't take much time to go berserk once again. Amla, meanwhile, continued to make merry as he scored his next 59 runs in just 28 balls. He belted 16 fours and four sixes in his 128-ball stay but lost his wicket by offering a catch to Ed Joyce at long-off off a Andy McBrine delivery in the 42nd over.
Two balls later, de Villiers reverse swept McBrine and the ball landed in the hands of Niall at backward point. He played a cameo of 24 from nine deliveries which included one four and two sixes.
Afterwards, Rilee Rossouw (61 not out in 30 balls) and David Miller (42 not out in 22 balls) played savage for an unbeaten 110-run partnership which helped the African side score 131 runs in the last 10 overs.
South Africa added 230 runs in the last 20 overs which ultimately helped them end at 411/4, the second highest total in World Cup history after India's 413/5 against Bermuda in 2007.
This is only the second time that a side has registered a consecutive 200-run win and the first time a team has posted back-to-back 400s. South Africa scored 408/5 to defeat the West Indies in their previous match by 257 runs, the joint biggest victory in World Cups.
Brief scores: South Africa 411/5 (Hashim Amla 159, Faf du Plessis 109, Rilee Rossouw 61 not out; Andy McBrine 2/63) beat Ireland 210 in 45 overs (Andy Balbirnie 58, Kevin O'Brien 48; Kyle Abbot 4/21, Morne Morkle 3/34, Dale Steyn 2/39).