Man of the Match AB de Villiers scored 99 runs and took two wickets to help his side secure a quarter final spot of the ICC Cricket World Cup.
The Proteas are virtually guaranteed second place in Pool B although one of Pakistan and Ireland can finish level with them on 8 points but they have virtually no chance of overturning the vast difference in net run rate.
The Proteas’ likely quarter-final opponents are Sri Lanka who are currently second in Pool A but there is an outside possibility that they could play Australia or Bangladesh. For either of those eventualities to take place there would have to be at least one major upset with Bangladesh playing New Zealand in their last pool match and Australia taking on Scotland.
De Villiers once again proved his versatility when he first laid the platform for the Proteas total after they had been sent into bat and then led the acceleration into the final 15 overs.
He made top score of 99 (82 balls, 6 fours and 4 sixes) and in the process set a World Cup record for the most sixes at a tournament. He has now hit 20 sixes to go past the 18 sixes that Matthew Hayden hit at the 2007 edition.
He said, “I’m very happy about today. The UAE bowlers bowled really well and made it difficult for us up front.”
Talking about his form, “I try to keep it simple & stick to my game plans, no matter who I play against.”
The South African captain is the second player after Kumar Sangakkara to achieve an aggregate of 400 runs for the competition. For good measure he also returned career best bowling figures of 2/15 and is statistically at least the leading all-rounder in the side.
In a match that the Proteas were expected to win with some ease they will nevertheless take quite a few meaningful positives out of it.
The most important was probably the fact that Vernon Philander, returning from injury, got through his 8.3 overs (2/34) without any problems. Second would be the first proper batting opportunity for Farhaan Behardien who made sure that the Proteas got more than 100 runs in the last 10 overs with his contribution of an unbeaten 64 off 31 balls with 5 fours and 3 sixes.
What was also important was that there was one century partnership, three others of over 50 plus the unbroken 49 by Behardien and Philander at the end which suggests that an important lesson has been learned from the Pakistan defeat.
The other major batting contributions came from David Miller (49 off 48 balls, 2 fours) and Rilee Rossouw (43 off 49 balls, 8 fours) who substituted for the injured Faf du Plessis. For good measure