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Last Updated:  Sunday, 9 February, 2003, 22:14 GMT

Lara scuppers SA again
By Martin Gough
BBC Sport at Newlands

Brian Lara
Lara showed what a damaging batsman he is

At Karachi in 1996, Brian Lara cut South Africa's hopes of World Cup success to shreds with a spectacular 111 in a surprise 19-run quarter-final win for West Indies.

Seven years later he was at it again as the Caribbean side upset South Africa's plans for a fairytale tournament opener.

Whatever the home side's talk in the last week of focusing on one match at a time, there was little doubt they, and an expectant nation, had their sights set on one opponent.

Nine of the starting XI at Newlands were part of the squad that were knocked out of the last World Cup, the South Africans point out, without even being beaten.

That tied semi-final with Australia has left them blinkered: two victories over their arch-rivals seemed to be all that was required for South Africa to become the first winning hosts.

There are five more Pool B games to go, and with only New Zealand of the forthcoming opponents likely to be as tough as this match, Shaun Pollock's side look likely to recover their composure.

I had to push and shove myself to get to the front of this young, talented side
Brian Lara

But, in typically dramatic style, Lara re-adjusted his opponents' sights.

Almost five months since he was flown home from the ICC Champions Trophy with a mystery illness, Lara betrayed signs of rust after coming to the crease at the end of the fifth over.

In fact the Trinidadian only made it off the mark when a leaping Jacques Kallis failed to hang on to a difficult chance at second slip.

"I've worked hard for four or five months," said Lara.

"They guys played well without me in India and Bangladesh and they're full of confidence.

"I told myself that I had to push and shove myself to get to the front of this young, talented side."

Lara gave notice of his intent in lofting veteran Allan Donald for six over long-off, but it was halfway through the visitors' innings before the run-rate edged above three per over.

Pollock appeals for Lara's wicket
Pollock tried everything but could not stem Lara
His half-century, driving Lance Klusener through mid-wicket for four, came off 78 deliveries; his century took just 43 more.

Of his 100, the greatest proportion of runs - 24 - came from the flick behind square on the leg-side but the left-hander played all around the wicket with increasing authority.

By the time he was caught by an ecstatic Pollock at mid-on for 116, the back of the innings was broken, allowing late pyrotechnics from youngsters Ricardo Powell and Ramnaresh Sarwan.

This was just his second of 16 one-day international tons, in a career spanning 204 matches, to have come in a World Cup match.

Of all of those trips into three figures, though, Lara rates his latest as the best.

"It was important in the context of the tournament," he explained.

"This is the world stage and we had to fight."

Shaun Pollock was also full of praise.

"He had to get in so he was slow up front but once he got in he played his shots," the South Africa skipper said.

"He's a class player, no doubt."

Links to more West Indies stories


Have Your Say on South Africa
04 Jan 03 |  Have Your Say
Have Your Say on West Indies
04 Jan 03 |  Have Your Say

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