Half-centuries from Jacques Kallis and J.P. Duminy helped South Africa complete a clean sweep of their one-day International series with the West Indies when they won the fifth and final match by one wicket on Thursday.
The result means that South Africa have now swept the West Indies 5-0 in each of their last three bilateral one-day international series.
Kallis, the man of the match, hit five boundaries in the top score of 57 at better than a run-a-ball, while Duminy struck just one four in 51 from 75 deliveries as the South Africans, in pursuit of 253 for victory, reached their target with just two balls to spare on a slow Queen’s Park Oval pitch.
Lonwabo Tsotsobe carried the Proteas over the threshold when he slapped a wide delivery from Kieron Pollard through the covers for four.
“It’s terrific to have achieved this result and bounce back from the failure at the Twenty20 World Cup,” South Africa captain Graeme Smith said. “It was an important time for us as a group of people and it was important for us to regain the faith of a lot of the public back home.”
Like last Sunday, the Proteas ran into late trouble when Charl Langeveldt was caught behind for 6 off the last ball of the penultimate over to leave the visitors needing eight from the final over, but Roelof van der Merwe swung the first ball of the final over from Pollard over square leg for four to ease South Africa’s tension, before Tsotsobe won it for them three balls later.
“The last few games have been too close for comfort,” Smith said. “We have chased on some pretty flat pitches, and West Indies have controlled the games at different times and we have lost wickets at crucial times, but we have held our nerve.”
West Indies skipper Chris Gayle admitted his side were in a bit of a rut.
“We seem to be in a bad habit of losing and when it comes down to these tight situations in matches, we do not know how to handle ourselves,” Gayle said.
South Africa had bowled with discipline, but Shivnarine Chanderpaul hit the top score of 67 from 104 balls and Narsingh Deonarine helped himself to a run-a-ball 53 to lead them to 252 for six.
The visitors then started their chase steadily, but Smith was caught behind of Dwayne Bravo for 12 in the ninth over.
South Africa then stumbled when Hashim Amla — who earned the man of the series award for his 402 runs, the most prolific batsman in the series — was run out for 45 in the 14th over, and A.B. de Villiers was caught off Gayle in the 19th.
Kallis and Duminy put the Proteas back on course for victory with a stand of 58, but Kallis was dubiously caught behind off Gayle in the 36th over and Mark Boucher was caught at short third-man off Pollard to leave the visitors needing 78 from the last 84 balls.
South Africa lost their way inside the last 10 overs when four wickets fell for 35 runs, but their last wicket pair held steady.