South Africa became the fifth team to reach the World Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday, comprehensively ending Ireland’s hopes and ramping up the survival pressure on illness-hit England.
J.P. Duminy agonizingly missed a century by just one run as the Proteas recovered from a poor start to make 272 for 7 in Kolkata, before Ireland were dismissed for 141 to lose by 131 runs.
“We wanted to qualify. We’ve got one round-robin game left against Bangladesh and hopefully three good games in the knockout phase. We’ve done the first part of it now,” South Africa captain Graeme Smith said.
South Africa were struggling at 117-5, before Duminy and World Cup debutant Colin Ingram (46), replacing the injured A.B. de Villiers, put on 87 for the sixth wicket at an eerily quiet 65,000-capacity Eden Gardens.
The 26-year-old Duminy, who also added 65 for the seventh wicket with Johan Botha, was on 99 when he skied a mistimed drive into the safe hands of a diving Kevin O’Brien in the final over.
Ireland were dismissed in the 34th over with Gary Wilson top-scoring with 31. Morne Morkel and Robin Peterson claimed three wickets each.
“We started off pretty well. We got couple of wickets up front. We thought it was important to get wickets to peg them back and I thought we did that pretty much throughout,” Ireland captain William Porterfield said. “We were happy enough at halftime with chasing 270. It was not out of our reach, but we consistently lost wickets.”
South Africa now top Group B and have joined the four qualifiers from Group A in the quarter-finals — New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The victory leaves India, the West Indies, Bangladesh and England scrambling for the last three spots in their pool.
England’s problems piled up on Tuesday when captain Andrew Strauss and off-spinner Graeme Swann missed training with stomach problems ahead of their clash against the West Indies in Chennai today. Fast bowler Jimmy Anderson also needed treatment on a shoulder injury.
England must beat the West Indies to have a chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals, but even then they will need other results to go their way.
Meanwhile, Canada’s John Davison, who once held the record for the fastest World Cup century, announced he would retire from international cricket after his side’s final match against Australia yesterday.
Davison, born in Canada but brought up in Australia, smashed his famous century off just 67 balls against the West Indies at Centurion in 2003.
“I suppose it’s pretty fitting it’s against Australia,” 40-year-old Davison said of his final match.