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South Africa's Kallis happy to silence critics

South Africa batsman Jacques Kallis silences his critics with a second successive World Cup Super Eights half-century.

cricket Updated: Apr 04, 2007 19:09 IST

South Africa batsman Jacques Kallis silenced his critics with a second successive World Cup Super Eights half-century.

Kallis came under fire after his 63-ball 48 against defending champions Australia in a group match his team lost while chasing a massive 378-run target in St Kitts last month. That was his only below-50 score in five matches.

The top-order batsman scored an unbeaten 66 in his team's seven-wicket victory over debutants Ireland in a rain-hit second-round game here on Tuesday.

He had already made a solid 86 in the previous match against Sri Lanka.

"I've never minded the criticism. There are some lines you don't cross, and some did when it came to that issue. I know who they are, and I'll remember that in future," said Kallis, who was named man of the match.

"I'm not going to change my game because some people are unhappy with it. I have a role to play within the team. No-one's position in the team can be taken for granted, and people are entitled to their opinions."

Kallis, 31, began the tournament on an impressive note when he hammered an unbeaten 128 against the Netherlands, and his two consecutive half-centuries here proved that nothing was wrong with his form.

"We have an important few weeks ahead of us and hopefully I can play a big role in helping South Africa move forward," said Kallis, who has so far scored 8,848 runs in 252 ODIs.

South Africa will meet Bangladesh here on Saturday before taking on New Zealand, England, the West Indies.

South Africa were strongly placed at 206-5 chasing a modest total of 210 before winning by just one wicket, following fast bowler Lasith Malinga's four wickets off successive deliveries.

"We didn't want to leave anything to fate. The wicket was a little bit slow, perhaps it got a little bit slower after the rain so it was one of those grinding days," said Kallis.

"It was nice to get some runs again. It was important to get through that new ball and then we just had to get through the middle period."
Also encouraging for South Africa was fast bowler Shaun Pollock's sharp opening two-wicket spell which rocked Ireland in the morning session.

Pollock, who went wicketless in his last two matches against Australia and Sri Lanka, finished with two wickets for 17 runs in seven overs.
South Africa captain Graeme Smith said he was never worried over Pollock's form.

"Before that (wicketless performances) he had two man-of-the-series awards. Today was a good day, and he has my full support," said Smith.

The South African skipper said his team needed to keep the momentum in the remaining matches to enchance their chances of qualifying for the semi-finals.

"The six points here are crucial for us. We need to win against Bangladesh, hopefully convincingly, and then prepare for three tough games," he said.

First Published: Apr 04, 2007 18:19 IST