Skipper A B de Villiers dazzled yet again, while Farhaan Behardien provided the late spark as South Africa recovered from a slow start to post 341 for 6 against the UAE in a pool B ODI cricket match of the ICC World Cup in Wellington on Thursday.
De Villiers once again proved to be the crucial cog for the Proteas, who have endured an unexpectedly wobbly campaign so far. However, the prolific right-hander missed out on a hundred by a solitary run even though he walked back with a smile on his face after entertaining the sparse crowd with an 83-ball innings. His 99-run effort included half a dozen fours and four lofty hits over the boundary. Later, Behardien played out a sensational unbeaten 31-ball 64 to propel the South Africans to a mammoth total.
The number seven right-hander struck five fours and three sixes during his aggressive stay at the crease. For the UAE, medium pacer Mohammad Naveed stood out with figures of three for 63 in his 10 overs. The South Africans, coming off a shock loss to Pakistan in their previous match, were off to an edgy start with openers Hashim Amla (12) and Quinton de Kock (26) failing to provide a solid platform for the middle order. But Rilee Rossouw (43 off 49 balls, 4×8) lent some stability before de Villiers took it upon himself to rescue the side yet again.
The dashing batsman combined with David Miller (49) for a 108-run fourth-wicket stand which helped South Africa recover from a rather precarious 96/3. The duo took the team total past 200 before Miller was castled by Naveed after a 48-ball stay, during which he struck two fours.
De Villiers made his way back after taking the side past 250, caught at third man by Kamran Shazad off Amjad Javed. The South Africans capitalised on the momentum provided by de Villiers through Behardien, who finally came good after an indifferent campaign so far.