England’s World Cup cricket hero Ben Stokes has been nominated along with Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson for New Zealander of the Year.
South Africa have crushed Ireland by 201-runs in their Cricket World Cup clash in Canberra following a career-best knock of 159 by Hashim Amla.
The Proteas’ total of 4-411 on a batsman-friendly Manuka Oval was just two runs shy of the World Cup record set by India against Bermuda in 2007.
Kyle Abbott (4-21) and Dale Steyn (2-39) then made fairly light work of an Irish batting line-up that successfully chased its previous two matches; skittling them for 210 in the 45th over.
The Proteas’ total of 408 last week against the Windies means they’ve become the first team to post back-to-back 400-plus ODI totals.
“Fortunately we got off to a good start and could start playing a few shots,” man-of-the-match Amla said.
“The guys have been batting well. It was a good wicket and fortunately we got some runs today.”
Once again, the Proteas bounced back from a Quinton de Kock (1) failure through Amla (159 off 128) and Faf du Plessis (109 off 109); the duo combining for a 247-run partnership.
While AB de Villiers (24 off 9) looked ominous he couldn’t go on to back up last week’s heroics for the 8,831-strong crowd and was caught while attempting a reverse slog sweep.
Ireland should have broken through for their second wicket in the sixth over, but Amla was given a lifeline when he was dropped by Ed Joyce at midwicket for 10.
He went on to bring up his century at exactly a run-a-ball, becoming the fastest man to reach 20 ODI hundreds in the process.
“Any hundred is a hundred,” Amla said when asked about the record milestone.
“I’m just glad to get some runs, it doesn’t matter how long it takes.”
Du Plessis took a couple overs extra to bring up his ton, and then he soon fell while cranking up the run rate.
Amla was then caught at long-off while hitting out off the bowling of Andrew McBrine (2-63), the Irish tweaker then dismissing dangerman de Villiers two balls later.
Late cameos by Rilee Rossouw (61 off 30) and David Miller (46 off 23) saw South Africa push their total past the 400-mark in the final over.
Wicketkeeping-opener de Kock’s poor run with the bat was the only blight on the scorecard, his solitary run lifting the total of his last five innings to just 31.
Andrew Balbirnie (58) and Kevin O’Brien (48) both put up a dogged resistance for Ireland with the bat, while Max Sorensen (0-76 off six overs) had a day to forget with the ball.
South Africa now turn their attention to their clash with Pakistan in Auckland this Saturday, while Ireland have a fixture against Zimbabwe in Hobart the same day.