ST. GEORGE'S (Grenada): A.B. de Villiers hit his first one-day century on Tuesday to lead South Africa to a formidable 356 for four wickets against the West Indies in a crucial World Cup Super Eights match.
The West Indies' pace attack opened brightly and removed captain Graeme Smith for seven. But opener de Villiers and Jacques Kallis shared a 170-run second-wicket partnership to lift the team following Saturday's shock 67-run defeat to Bangladesh.
De Villiers hit 146 despite batting the late stages with a runner because of cramp, dehydration and heat exhaustion. The West Indies missed a handful chances to get him and Kallis out, and the latter also struck 81.
A late onslaught by Herschelle Gibbs (61 not out) and Mark Boucher (52) helped add 134 off the last 10 overs, setting a tough target.
The tournament host has lost its previous three Super Eights matches and, after winning the toss at the brand new Grenada National Stadium and choosing to field first, needs a strong batting performance to keep alive realistic hopes of a semifinal place.
South Africa's loss to Bangladesh cast doubt on what previously looked like certain qualification for the next round and its position looked even more precarious when Smith fell early.
The West Indies got the breakthrough with the last ball of the seventh over from the recalled Corey Collymore, one of three changes to the team that lost to Sri Lanka last week.
Collymore and Daren Powell had extracted plenty of movement and pace from an uneven pitch and an outswinger tempted Smith into a thick edge to wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin to depart for seven.
However, that brought Kallis to the crease and the No. 3 quickly started scoring runs, especially when Ian Bradshaw and Dwayne Bravo replaced Powell and Collymore.
Kallis and de Villiers brought up the 50-run partnership in 40 balls. The pair added 50 runs from five overs through to the 15th, even though they were interrupted briefly during the last of those as Kallis had his left ankle strapped.
Ramdin dropped Kallis the next over when he was on 40, apparently standing too close to the stumps to gather a catch from Bravo's bowling, and de Villiers should have been run out but Devon Smith missed his shy at the stumps from less than 10 metres (yards).
South Africa's 100 came up off 116 balls and Bravo missed another run out attempt on Kallis with a wayward throw. Ramdin tried to stump de Villiers, but South Africa continued to make the most of West Indies' missed chances.
Kallis' scoring slowed after his ligament injury but he still made his third half-century in four one-day matches to bring up his 62nd 50 in 46 balls.
The stand was eventually broken when, at the start of his fourth over, Chris Gayle beat Kallis's bat to bowl him after an 83-ball innings.
De Villiers then reached his first century in 38 matches, joined by Herschelle Gibbs, who was deemed to have recovered sufficiently from the calf injury that forced him to bat with a runner against Bangladesh.
The pair shared a quick-fire 70-run partnership over seven overs before de Villiers was eventually out, hitting Collymore to Chanderpaul at short fine leg in the 44th over.
He had lasted 128 balls and hit twelve 4s and five 6s, four of them coming in one over by Ramnaresh Sarwan.
Bradshaw dropped Gibbs on 37 and the 50-run partnership came up in 23 balls, eventually reaching 76. Daren Powell went for 26 off his last over.
West Indies was 65 fpr two after 11 overs.
South Africa: A.B. de Villiers c Chanderpaul b Collymore 146, G. Smith c Ramdin b Collymore 7, J. Kallis b Gayle 81, H. Gibbs (not out) 61, M. Boucher c & b Bravo 52, S. Pollock (not out) 0; Extras (lb-3, w-6): 9; Total (for four wkts. in 50 overs): 356.
Fall of wickets: 1-21, 2-191, 3-261, 4-347.
West Indies bowling: Collymore10-0-41-2, Powell 10-0-78-0, Bradshaw 10-0-73-0, Bravo 7-0-69-1, Pollard 3-0-20-0, Gayle 6-0-42-1, Sarwan 4-0-30-0.