The South Africans put one foot in the semis with a 20-run win over the West Indies at the Oval on Saturday. A target of 184, is imposing for any team, even one with a certain Chris Gayle. The Proteas did their bit with the bat, posting a total which would need a Gayle special if West Indies were to make a match of it.
But after Andre Fletcher was dismissed early, Gayle only managed to pick out Johan Botha at midwicket, off Wayne Parnell. The opening pair was back in the dugout at 13/2, thanks to Parnell's excellent opening spell.
Lendl Simmons and Dwayne Bravo then mounted a spirited counter-attack, the former leading the charge with four delightful strokes in an 18-run Jacques Kallis over. The duo brought up the fifty off 41 balls, and all of a sudden, South Africa's bowlers panicked. Much was expected of Bravo after his heroics against India, but he holed out for 17. Simmons, who kept his team in the hunt, eventually fell for a 50-ball 77 and the chase fizzled out, finishing at 163/9. Parnell finished off the game, ending with figures of 4/13.
Earlier South Africa piled on a massive 183/7 off their 20 overs, courtesy Herschelle Gibbs (55) and Jacques Kallis (45).
There was a sublime array of classic, along-the-ground cricketing shots, largely from Kallis, as he got South Africa off to a flyer. Graeme Smith (31) raised the team's fifty off just 33 balls. After Smith's fall, Kallis and Gibbs added a breezy 51. Gibbs, whose form has been scratchy through the tournament, returned to form with a commanding 55.