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ProteaFire blows away Gayle force Windies

DE-VILLERS-WINDIESSYDNEY, February 26- South Africa captain AB de Villiers hammered the second-fastest century in World Cup history as he led his side to a crushing 257-run victory over the West Indies at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday.

De Villiers finished on an unbeaten 162 off just 66 balls as South Africa raced to the second-highest World Cup total of 408 for five, behind only the 413 for for five made by India against Bermuda, a non-Test nation, in Trinidad in 2007.

The Proteas’ skipper’s innings was also the fastest 150 in ODIs and de Villiers now has the fastest fifty, hundred and 150 in ODI cricket — all coming against the West Indies.

South Africa’s second win of the tournament put them firmly back on track for the quarter-finals after their abject 130-run loss to India and revived their bid for a maiden World Cup title.

On a night for the statisticians, this result also equalled the biggest winning margin, in terms of runs, at a World Cup match set when India beat Bermuda by 257 runs in 2007.

De Villiers demolished the West Indians with eight sixes and 17 fours and was particularly savage on West Indies captain Jason Holder, clouting four sixes off the pace bowler’s final over.

The fastest-ever World Cup century was made by Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien, off 50 balls, against England in Bangalore during the 2011 tournament.

– Gayle blown away –

It was a miserable effort in reply by the West Indies as they tumbled to 151 all out off 33.1 overs, with their big guns Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels succumbing early on to Kyle Abbott.

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Gayle, who blasted a World Cup record 215 with 16 sixes in his last innings against Zimbabwe, exposed his stumps, swung his bat and was bowled middle stump by Abbott for three in the second over.

Samuels, who made an unbeaten 133 in the same match, got an outside edge and was caught behind for a duck.

The West Indies lost any remote chance they had with the pair’s exit.

Jonathan Carter (10), Dwayne Smith (31) and Lendl Simmons (nought) all fell in the space of seven balls to leave their side at 53 for five.

Leg-spinner Imran Tahir triggered the collapse and finished with five for 45 from 10 overs.

De Villiers, who made his century off 52 balls, teed off late on, plundering 34 off Holder’s penultimate over — two sixes, three fours and a two– and then 30 off his last over. Holder finished with one for 104 off 10 overs.

Apart from the spectacular de Villiers show, there was a solid supporting cast from the South African top order with Hashim Amla contributing 65 off 88 balls, Faf du Plessis 62 off 70 and Rilee Rossouw slamming 61 off 39 balls.

Off-spinner Gayle struck in the 30th over with two wickets in three balls, removing du Plessis caught behind for 62 attempting a shot through extra cover and then trapping Amla leg before for 65.

But de Villiers and Rossouw began to dramatically up the tempo, raising their hundred stand off 60 balls.

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The skipper brought up his 50 off 30 balls and Rossouw’s half-century came off 31 balls.

De Villiers unfurled some remarkable shots in the closing overs, easily clearing the ropes. In the last 10 overs the Proteas piled on 150 runs.

Rossouw was caught behind off Andre Russell, having struck six fours and a six.

Jerome Taylor claimed the catch of the day to dismiss David Miller for 20 with a splendid one-handed effort on the boundary that prevented what seemed a certain six.

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