Markram onslaught takes South Africa to verge of World Cup

JOHANNESBURG: Aiden Markram hit 175 off 126 balls as South Africa took a giant step towards automatic qualification for the Cricket World Cup with a 146-run win over the Netherlands in the third one-day international at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday.

“We did exactly what we wanted to do,” said South Africa captain Temba Bavuma at the after-match presentation.

South Africa climbed into eighth place in the Super League table, going above the West Indies and improving their net run rate with a second emphatic win in three days.

Ireland are the only team who could squeeze South Africa out of automatic qualification for the World Cup but they will need to beat Bangladesh 3-0 in a series in England next month to draw level on points.

Ireland will also need to improve their net run rate.

“In terms of the points and qualification, we’ve done ourselves justice,” said Bavuma.

“In the cricket as well, there were a lot of positives in the batting and the bowling.”

South Africa completed a 2-0 win in a series which was halted because of a Covid scare after the first game was rained off in November 2021.

The West Indies will have to play in a qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe in June and July to decide the final two teams that will play in the World Cup in India in October and November.

Markram hit 17 fours and seven sixes in scoring his first one-day international century.

He and David Miller (91) set up a South African total of 370 for eight with a fifth wicket partnership of 199 off 118 balls.

Netherlands made a spirited attempt to keep up with the required run rate but lost their last five wickets for seven runs to be bowled out for 224.

Fast bowler Sisanda Magala claimed his first international five-wicket haul, taking five for 43, with four of his victims being bowled.

Left-hander Musa Ahmed received two painful early blows on the chest and shoulder from express fast bowler Anrich Nortje but went on to make top score of 61, his first international half-century.

Netherlands captain Scott Edwards said his team had matched South Africa for periods during both games.

“Three-hundred and seventy was always going to be tough,” he said.

“We kept up with the rate but we needed someone to get a big score like Aiden.”

The Dutch will also play in the World Cup qualifier in Zimbabwe alongside the hosts, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Scotland and Oman.

The three remaining spots in the 10-team event are still to be decided.

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