Chasing a target of 206 runs, South Africa registered a comprehensive victory against West Indies in the opening match of the Twenty20 World Cup at The Wanderers on Tuesday. The Proteas beat Windies by eight wickets and 14 balls in hand in the Group A tie at Johannesburg.
Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs gave the Proteas a solid start, rolling up runs in the first five overs. But the skipper, who was hit on his arm in the first delivery of the chase, was caught by Gayle off Rampaul's delivery for 28 runs. Smith went to the hospital to get his hand diagnosed immediately after returning to the pavilion.
Fidel Edwards got the next wicket for the Caribs in AB de Villiers. The batsman was caught by Denesh Ramdin for 16 runs. Gibbs and Kemp then went on to pile a 120-run partnership to step up the chase.
Gibbs' frenetic 90 off 55 balls was enough to make the home crowd go wild with exhilaration, while the cheer groups reminded of a highflying NBA match.
Earlier, riding on Chris Gayle's fulgent century, West Indies posted a mammoth total after being put to bat by the hosts.
Man of the Match Gayle seemed to enjoy the new format of the game as he fired impressive shots en route his maiden Twenty20 century. The huge Caribbean crowd went berserk with each six.
The Proteas, who were under the heat of Gayle's fiery attack, got some respite with Vernon Philander's dismissal of Devon Smith. The opener walked back to the pavilion for 35. Shaun Pollock struck next to dismiss Marlon Samuels for six.
In the 17th over, van der Wath scalped the prized wicket of hurricane Gayle. The batsman returned for 117 off just 57 balls. He hit seven boundaries and ten sixes.
Next, Morne Morkel got Dwayne Smith caught by Gibbs. van der Wath returned in the 19th over of the innings to remove Chanderpaul. The batsman was caught by Boucher for 11. Philander scalped skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan in the penultimate ball for 12.
South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Herschelle Gibbs, AB de Villiers, Mark Boucher, Justin Kemp, Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini, Albie Morkel, Johan van der Wath, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel.
West Indies: Chris Gayle, Devon Smith, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Marlon Samuels, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Dwayne Bravo, Denesh Ramdin, Dwayne Smith, Daren Powell, Ravi Rampaul, Fidel Edwards.