McLaren is South Africa's hero

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WRECKER-IN-CHIEF: South African pacer Ryan McLaren watches Kieron Pollard, one of his five victims, trudge off after breaching the West Indian's defence.
WRECKER-IN-CHIEF: South African pacer Ryan McLaren watches Kieron Pollard, one of his five victims, trudge off after breaching the West Indian's defence.

West Indies batsmen fail to overhaul a total of 136

North Sound (Antigua and Barbuda): A career-best spell from Ryan McLaren helped South Africa to a 13-run victory over West Indies in the first Twenty20 International here on Wednesday.

McLaren captured five wickets for 19 runs from 3.5 overs to earn the Man-of-the-Match award, as West Indies, chasing 137 for victory, was dismissed for 123 with one ball to spare at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.

The 27-year-old McLaren finished with the second-best figures in a Twenty20 International behind Pakistan's Umar Gul, who collected five for six from three overs against New Zealand at The Oval in London in last year's World Twenty20.

Both the West Indies and South Africa came into the match having failed to make it through to the knockout stages of this year's ICC World Twenty20, which England won.

Good start

“It's a good way to start off the tour having practised indoors and not outdoors for the last few weeks,” said McLaren.

“But it's only the first day, and there's plenty more cricket to come, so hopefully, I can better this performance.

“We all know the nature of T20 cricket — the bowler is always up against it. You can take five wickets one day, and the next day, take a thumping, but I enjoyed it.”

South Africa captain Graeme Smith added: “It was not an easy day for the batters, and you had to graft pretty hard.

“Playing shots was not easy, and there was a strong wind, so there were a lot of things you had to take into consideration.

“It was obviously nice to start with a win. This was the most important thing for us.

“We have worked really hard over the last few days here in Antigua, had a few discussions, the energy has been good around the team, and a lot of new faces have come in.

“We want to have a good tour of the Caribbean, so success in this match was very important to getting us off on the right foot.”

Kallis bats well

Earlier, veteran South African batsman Jacques Kallis had struck one four and three sixes in 53 off 45 balls, as South Africa laboured to 136 for seven from 20 overs, after deciding to bat on an uneven pitch.

He added 73 for the second wicket with Smith, whose 37 off 31 balls included three fours and one six.

Once they were separated, South Africa's batting collapsed, and it lost its last five wickets for 16 runs off 26 balls.

Only the fourth

McLaren then became only the fourth bowler to collect five wickets in a T20 match, when he ripped out Andre Fletcher caught behind by stand-in keeper A.B. de Villiers for a duck, and had the dangerous West Indies captain Chris Gayle caught at long-on for 14 to leave the host on 28 for two in the sixth over.

Johan Botha snuffed out a West Indies revivial when he had Dwayne Bravo caught at long-on for 20 in the 10th over, and Narsingh Deonarine stumped by de Villiers for a duck two balls later.

When Roelof van der Merwe had Ramnaresh Sarwan caught at cover off the leading edge in the 11th over, West Indies still needed 85 off 56 balls, and there was little or no substance nor stability from the rest of the batting.

“It was a disappointing start for us,” said Gayle.

“We wanted to put our dismal performance in the ICC World T20 behind us, but this was not the best way to do it, and was not the best start to the series.

“We still have a match, so we have to pick ourselves up. This is no time for pointing fingers.

“We have a lot of corrections to make out there, and we have to return to the drawing board to try and get the best out of the players.” — AFP

South Africa: G. Smith st Fletcher b Miller 37, L. Bosman c Fletcher b Taylor 7, J. Kallis c Sarwan b Pollard 53, A. de Villiers c Taylor b Pollard 11, J. P. Duminy b Roach 0, J. Botha c Fletcher b Roach 0, A. Petersen (run out) 6, R. McLaren (not out) 6, R. van der Merwe (not out) 4; Extras (lb-3, w-4, nb-5): 12. Total (for seven wkts in 20 overs): 136.

Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-88, 3-111, 4-115, 5-115, 6-122, 7-127.

West Indies bowling: Roach 4-0-25-2, Taylor 3-0-16-1, Benn 3-0-20-0, Sammy 2-0-11-0, Bravo 1-0-14-0, Gayle 1-0-12-0, Miller 2-0-13-1, Pollard 4-0-22-2.

West Indies: C. Gayle c Smith b McLaren 14, A. Fletcher c de Villiers b McLaren 0, D. Bravo c sub b Botha 20, R. Sarwan c Petersen b van der Merwe 13, N. Deonarine st de Villiers b Botha 0, K. Pollard b McLaren 27, D. Sammy st de Villiers b McLaren 17, N. Miller c de Villiers b Langeveldt 5, J. Taylor (run out) 7, S. Benn c Amla b McLaren 4, K. Roach (not out) 3; Extras (lb-1, w-11, nb-1): 13. Total (in 19.5 overs): 123

Fall of wickets: 1-14, 2-28, 3-48, 4-50, 5-52, 6-88, 7-99, 8-111, 9-120.

South Africa bowling: van der Merwe 3-0-17-1, Steyn 4-0-23-0, McLaren 3.5-0-19-5, Langeveldt 3-0-31-1, Kallis 2-0-13-0, Botha 4-0-19-2 .

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