NEW DELHI, Feb 24 (PTI): AB de Villiers smashed an unbeaten century and debutant Imran Tahir scalped four wickets as South Africa launched their cricket World Cup campaign with a comfortable seven-wicket win over West Indies in a Group-B league match here today.
The South Africans first restricted the Caribbeans to 222 all out and then relied on de Villiers� unbeaten 107, his 10th ODI ton, to rattle up the runs with 43 balls to spare at the Ferozeshah Kotla. The Proteas scored 223 for three to garner two points.
The 31-year-old Pakistan-born Tahir also made a memorable World Cup debut to claim four key wickets and return with impressive figures of 10-1-41-4 while paceman Dale Steyn was the other successful bowler with 3/24.
Darren Bravo (73) was the top scorer for the West Indians who never really got to take control of the innings after being put in to bat by South African skipper Graeme Smith.
The Caribbeans failed to recover from the early jolt of losing their opener Chris Gayle in the very first over and although Devon Smith (36), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (31) and Dwayne Bravo (40) got the starts, they could not translate them into a big knocks.
After Tahir took the bowling honours, de Villiers took centrestage with a superb display of strokeplay on what appeared to be a good track at the Ferozeshah Kotla, hosting its first match since December 2009 after the India-Sri Lanka ODI was abandoned because of a �dangerous� pitch.
The South African innings began on a disastrous note as they lost opener Hashim Amla (14) and veteran Jacques Kallis (4) early to be reduced to a precarious 20 for two within five overs.
Paceman Kemar Roach drew first blood for the West Indians by dismissing Amla who edged the ball to wicket keeper Devon Thomas. The South Africans asked for a referral and the television umpire upheld the decision.
But the Proteas suffered a huge jolt when Kallis, who has been a vital cog in their batting, was snapped up by Sulieman Benn who began the bowling operations for his team.
It was a gem of a ball from Benn which accounted for Kallis� dismissal as the right-hander went for cover drive but only succeeded in edging the spinning delivery to Darren Sammy at the lone slip.
The dashing AB de Villiers, who joined his captain Graeme Smith after Kallis� dismissal, launched a counter-attack to unsettle the Caribbeans and the strategy paid dividends to some extent as the duo brought up the 50-run partnership in just 55 balls.
Gayle c Kallis b Botha 2
Smith c & b Tahir 36
Bravo lbw b Botha 73
Sarwan lbw b Tahir 2
Chanderpaul c Peterson b Tahir 31
Bravo run out 40
Thomas c Duminy b Tahir 15
Pollard lbw b Steyn 0
Sammy lbw b Steyn 0
Benn c Morkel b Steyn 6
Roach not out 2
Extras: (b 1, lb 3, w 11) 15
Total: (all out; 47.3 overs) 222
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-113, 3-117, 4-120, 5-178, 6-209, 7-213, 8-213, 9-213, 10-222.
Bowling: Botha 9-0-48-2, Steyn 7.3-1-24-3, Morkel 8-0-35-0, Kallis 3-0-21-0, Tahir 10-1-41-4, Peterson 10-0-49-0.
Amla c Thomas b Roach 14
Smith b Pollard 45
Kallis c Sammy b Benn 4
AB de Villiers not out 107
Duminy not out 42
Extras: (lb 10, nb 1) 11
Total: (3 wickets; 42.5 overs) 223.
Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-20, 3-139.
Bowling: Benn 10-0-51-1, Roach 8-0-42-1, Bravo 2.1-0-12-0, Sammy 8-0-40-0, Pollard 7.5-0-37-1, Gayle 6-0-26-0, Smith 0.5-0 5-0.