New Delhi, Feb 24 (PTI) Leg-spinner Imran Tahir made amemorable international debut by scalping four key wickets asSouth Africa bundled out West Indies for 222 in 47.3 overs intheir World Cup Group-B league match here today.
The 31-year-old Tahir returned with impressive figures of10-1-41-4 to take the bowling honours on what appeared to be agood track at the Feroze Shah Kotla, hosting its first matchsince December 2009 after the India-Sri Lanka ODI wasabandoned because of a "dangerous" pitch.
Darren Bravo (73) was the top scorer for the West Indianswho never really got to take control of the innings afterbeing put in to bat by South African skipper Graeme Smith.
The Caribbeans failed to recover from the early jolt oflosing their opener Chris Gayle in the very first over andalthough a few players got the starts, they could nottranslate them into big knocks.
South Africa opened the bowling with spinner Johan Bothaand the move paid dividends straightaway as he accounted fordangerous Gayle in the third ball of the innings.
Gayle tried to play on the leg side but only succeeded inedging the ball to Jacques Kallis at the slip.
Morne Morkel replaced Botha whose first spell read3-0-11-1 while Kallis took the bowling responsibility fromDale Steyn at the other end.
Kallis turned out to be quite expensive in his first overas Bravo spanked him for two boundaries.
Smith and Bravo steadied the innings after the early lossof Gayle by playing cautiously but were quick to dispatch theloose deliveries to the boundary.
While Bravo was the more aggressive of the two batsmen,unleashing a flurry of shots on both sides of the wicket,Smith was quite content in playing second fiddle and givingstrike to his partner.
The duo brought up the 100-run stand for the secondwicket in 19.4 overs and put the Caribbean innings back ontrack as the South Africans tried to break the partnership.
Just when West Indies seemed to be cruising alongcomfortably, the Proteas struck three vital blows to unsettlethem again with leg-spinner Tahir doing the damage on twooccasions.
Devon smith (36), Bravo (73) and Ramnaresh Sarwan (2)were the three batsmen who returned to the pavilion in quicksuccession as West Indies suddenly slumped to 120 for four.
It was Botha who triggered the collapse by getting rid ofBravo who was looking quite comfortable at the middle.
Bravo looked to flick a well tossed-up delivery butmissed the line and was trapped leg before. He went for thereferral but the television umpire also ruled him out much tohis disappointment. .