Parnell stars in Proteas win
Teenager Wayne Parnell continued South Africa’s surge towards the ICC World Twenty20 semi-finals with a four-wicket haul in their 20-run victory over West Indies.
Parnell, 19, took wickets at both ends of West Indies’ chase at The Oval to finish with outstanding figures of 4-13 from four overs.
It meant South Africa have one foot in the final four after two wins from two in Group E of the Super Eights stage.
Set a challenging 184-run target, West Indies were set back by the loss of openers Chris Gayle and Andre Fletcher, the slayers of Australia on the same ground, in the opening four overs.
His incisive, initial two-over burst of 2-3 was followed by the removal of Kieron Pollard and Jerome Taylor at the death.
By that time the result was not in question, only the margin of victory for tournament favourites South Africa.
Lendl Simmons appeared intent on winning the contest on his own after West Indies slumped to 13 for two, his audacious range of strokes conning the packed house that another shock was on the cards.
His six over extra-cover off spinner Roelof van der Merwe was reminiscent of the trademark stroke of Dwayne Bravo, his partner in a 57-run stand for the third wicket.
Bravo’s brilliance yesterday sent the West Indians into this contest in good humour but his departure for 19, held in the deep off the chunky Van der Merwe, represented the last support for Simmons.
Any chance of West Indies’ victory then disappeared when, from the final ball of the 16th over with 12-an-over required, Simmons succumbed to the same dismissal for an elegant 77.
Once again West Indies, who threw Group E, which also includes England, wide open by beating holders India on Friday evening, opted to bowl first but this time failed to break South Africa’s experienced opening duo early on.
In fact, Smith’s dismissal - a slice to point off giant left-armer Sulieman Benn - for a speedy 31 was the only success of the first half of the innings after the South Africans were asked to bat first.
Opening partner Jacques Kallis and Herschelle Gibbs also took advantage of the true nature of the surface and fast outfield - they all edged fours early on to infuriate the opposition - as South Africa positioned themselves for a second-half assault by reaching 86 for one at halfway.
That the damage was limited was down to a late fightback from West Indies, which began when Kallis holed out to long-on off Simmons’ medium pace in the 12th over, immediately after displacing Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan as the tournament’s leading scorer.
It prompted a spree of six wickets for 61 runs in seven overs with new-ball duo Taylor and Fidel Edwards feasting in the finale.
West Indies began like a side who had been on the field late last night but shrugged off their lethargy after conceding 10 fours and a Kallis six over extra-cover in the powerplay period.
Gibbs provided the innings with extravagance via a contribution of 55 from only 35 deliveries.
Using his feet effectively to the spinners and scything fours through the off side, he saved his brute force for Simmons, dragging a delivery over wide long-on for six.
His departure to a miscue from a Kieron Pollard slower ball left two fresh batsmen at the crease and West Indies back into the contest.
Two more were required in the 17th over when Taylor, who was so good in the win over Australia on the same ground last weekend, removed both AB de Villiers and Albie Morkel.
Crucially, however, veteran Mark Boucher managed to clear the ropes in the final over from Edwards to ensure the West Indians required a target of nine runs per over.