Duminy excels as Proteas progress
JP Duminy compiled a valuable 99 as South Africa became the first team to secure progression from World Cup Group B with a convincing 131-run win over Ireland, who can no longer qualify for the quarter-finals.
South Africa did not have things all their own way early on at Eden Gardens and a shock appeared to be on the cards when they slumped to 117 for five in the 27th over after being invited to bat first.
With young spinners George Dockrell and Paul Stirling performing admirably once again, South Africa were grateful to Duminy, who operated with caution for much of his 103-ball stay at the crease before accelerating late on.
The left-hander received good support from Colin Ingram and Johan Botha, who contributed 46 and 21 not out respectively in partnerships of 87 and 65.
Duminy was eventually dismissed in the final over of the innings as he looked to bring up his century with a straight six, but the damage had been done and Ireland’s hopes of victory quickly evaporated as Morne Morkel removed openers Will Porterfield and Stirling in his opening two overs.
Gary Wilson was the only batsman to pass 20 as the Associate nation stumbled to 142 all out, with Morkel and Peterson sharing six wickets.
"We were happy enough at half-time as chasing 270 wasn't out of our reach. But it's just that we lost wickets,” said Ireland skipper Porterfield.
“"We've shown a lot of competitive spirit. Today we lost a lot of wickets and were always behind, but the tournament has been good and we'll take a lot of positives from it."
South Africa captain Graeme Smith said: “We put ourselves under pressure with some stupid run-outs, but the guys responded really well after that, especially JP who batted really well under pressure.
"I think you can always nitpick, but there were some good signs today."
Although Morne van Wyk was dropped twice, by Kevin O’Brien at short cover and Stirling at slip, on his way to a boundary-laden 42, Ireland’s fielding was typically impressive for the most part and Dockrell pulled off a superb catch at third man to dismiss Hashim Amla in Boyd Rankin’s third over.
Smith managed just seven before being run out by a direct hit from John Mooney at short midwicket and the aggressive van Wyk was bowled as he looked to cut a flighted delivery from Dockrell, who finished with 1-37 from 10 overs.
With the spinners keeping a lid on the scoring rate, another run out soon followed as Porterfield produced a superb piece of work at cover to account for Jacques Kallis. There looked to be an easy single when Duminy worked the ball to cover, only for the alert Porterfield to swoop and fire in a quick throw to wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien.
Stirling had Francois Du Plessis caught at slip for 11 as South Africa continued to struggle, but Duminy held firm and found an able ally in Ingram, who counter-attacked well before a Trent Johnston delivery skidded on and breached his defences.
Duminy gradually raised his strike-rate as the innings drew to a close and lifted Johnston over square-leg for six in the penultimate over as he neared three figures.
However, he was to be denied a deserved hundred as Kevin O’Brien took a steepling catch running back at mid-on off Mooney.
Ireland knew a strong start was needed if they were to chase down their target, but they lost Porterfield in the second over as he looked to drive a length delivery from Morkel and succeeded only in edging to opposite number Smith at first slip.
Stirling was dropped by Morkel at third man in the next over, but the tall seamer quickly made amends by having the 20-year-old opener caught at second slip by Kallis, who then dismissed Niall O’Brien.
When Ed Joyce departed lbw to a non-spinning delivery from Botha, Ireland were in tatters on 51 for four, and, although Wilson and Kevin O’Brien delayed the inevitable with a gutsy partnership of 41, Peterson struck twice in the space of three balls to hasten their demise.
O’Brien holed out to long-off with 19 to his name, while Wilson failed in an attempt to overturn an lbw decision after he was struck on the pad by an arm ball from the left-arm spinner.
Peterson almost grabbed a third wicket with his next ball as he found the edge of Mooney’s bat, only for Kallis to spill a low chance at slip.
It did not take long for the former Derbyshire man to strike again, however, as an attempted slog from Cusack provided Smith with a simple catch at point.
The result had long since become a formality by this stage and Johnston, Mooney and Dockrell all provided wicketkeeper van Wyk with catches as Ireland were bowled out with more than 16 overs unused.