South Africa's Hashim Amla, centre, is congratulated by teammates Quinton De Kock and Francois Du Plessis, right, after taking a catch to dismiss Ireland's Niall O'Brien. Picture: AP Photo/Rob Griffith
Hashim Amla struck a career-best 159 as South Africa beat Ireland by 201 runs in their World Cup Pool B match in Canberra.
The Proteas amassed 411 for the loss of four wickets from their 50 overs thanks to the free-flowing runscoring of opening batsman Amla and Faf du Plessis, who scored 109, with David Millar and Rilee Rossouw adding 110 quickfire runs at the end of the innings.
In reply, Ireland were all out for 210 but did put up some resistance after being reduced to 48 for five in the 11th over.
The win consolidated South Africa’s position in second place in Pool B behind leaders India and made them the first team to post back-to-back 400s and the second to register consecutive 200-run wins.
Ireland got off to the dream start when Quinton de Kock edged behind to Gary Wilson from the bowling of John Mooney in the third over to leave the Proteas at 12 for one.
Ed Joyce then dropped Amla when he was on 10 – a costly mistake as the South African batsman went on to make his 159 from 128 balls, including 16 boundaries and four sixes.
Du Plessis was equally as free-scoring at the other end but was also given a life with the score on 60 for one when he edged behind and narrowly missed the hands of slip, instead earning four runs.
The pair worked well in tandem and punished Ireland’s bowlers, Du Plessis bringing up 150 for South Africa with a huge six in the 24th over as he and Amla plundered runs.
Amla reached his century from 100 balls, narrowly before Du Plessis, whose ton came up after 103 balls.
By this point South Africa were cruising and went into the drinks break at 228 for one after 37 overs.
The partnership was finally broken in the 39th over when Du Plessis swung and missed at a Kevin O’Brien delivery, with the ball hitting his middle stump.
Joyce made amends for his earlier drop by catching Amla, with AB de Villiers departing shortly after for 24 to leave South Africa on 301 for four with just over eight overs remaining.
Millar and Rossouw picked up where Amla and Du Plessis had left off with some free hitting, Millar blasting 46 from 23 balls and Rossouw plundering 61 from 30 balls, including six boundaries and four maximums.
It left Ireland with an imposing target of 412 to win the match and they stuttered to 21 for three after Paul Stirling (nine), William Porterfield (12) and Joyce (zero) were all dismissed by the fifth over.
Joyce was caught at first slip by Amla at the first attempt, somewhat rubbing more salt into the wound after the Irishman’s earlier dropped catch.
Amla also snapped up Niall O’Brien at first slip for 14 thanks to an impressive catch, after his view of the ball was impeded by wicketkeeper De Kock diving in front of him.
Wilson’s departure for a duck after he was caught on the crease by Kyle Abbott (four for 21) left Ireland rocking at 48 for five but they rallied to 129 before the loss of their next wicket, Andy Balbirnie for 58.
Kevin O’Brien (48) kept Ireland’s innings ticking over but victory was never a possibility, with Max Sorensen (22) and George Dockrell (25) unable to change the course of the match.