POTCHEFSTROOM, South Africa – West Indies’ gallant bid for their first One-Day International series win over South Africa in three decades fell flat here Tuesday when they slumped to a four-wicket defeat at Senwes Park.
Defending 260 in the series finale after Brandon King top-scored with a run-a-ball 72, West Indies lost their discipline with the ball, allowing the Proteas to speed to their target in the 30th over with Man-of-the-Match Heinrich Klaasen carving out a brilliant, unbeaten 119 off 61 deliveries.
The visitors were in with a shout when the outstanding Alzarri Joseph struck twice early to reduce the run chase to 36 for two in the fourth over, and again when the innings slipped to 87 for four in the 13th over.
But Klaasen proved the difference, blasting 15 fours and five sixes and combining with David Miller (17) in a 55-run, fifth wicket stand and then with Marco Jansen (43) in a 103-run, sixth wicket partnership, to erase any chance of a West Indies win.
Joseph earned three for 50 with his pace while left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein ended with two for 49 but the West Indies attacked proved expensive, seamer Jason Holder leaking nearly 9-½ runs per over from his seven-over spell and pacer Odean Smith and leg-spinner Yannic Cariah both also sending down costly overs.
“They clearly outplayed us today. I thought we batted well in parts but definitely didn’t execute with the ball,” said captain Shai Hope.
“We just didn’t hit our straps. We have ourselves to blame. In a situation like this, we can’t expect to concede  in 29 overs so we have ourselves to blame here.”
He added: “I still thought we were in the game [after posting 260] but again, we didn’t bowl as well as we needed to.”
Sent in, West Indies were handed a strong start by King, the right-hander putting on 39 for the first wicket with Kyle Mayers (14) before adding a further 71 for the second wicket with Shamarh Brooks (18).
Mayers perished at the end of the seventh over to pacer Marco Jansen (2-46), brilliantly taken by Lungi Ngidi running back from mid on while Brooks was run out at the end of the 19th over when he slipped mid-pitch and failed to regain his ground in time, after being sent back by King over a single.
King, who struck 11 fours and a six, reached his fourth ODI fifty off 60 balls and appeared in command when he chopped on to a short delivery from pacer Ngidi in the 22nd over.
Former captains Nicholas Pooran (39) and Jason Holder (36) both tried to rally the innings but their efforts were in vain as West Indies disappointingly lost their last six wickets for 100 runs to be all out in the 49th, Hope failing with 16 when he clipped left-arm spinner Bjorn Fortuin (2-46) to Miller at mid-wicket in the 27th.
Left-hander Pooran struck a four and three sixes in a 41-ball knock before top-edging a pull at Jansen to fine leg in the 35th, while Holder was beaten in flight and stumped off part-time off-spinner Aiden Markram in the 44th after counting three fours in 43 balls at the crease.
The hostile Joseph gave West Indies the ideal start, forcing Ryan Rickelton (3) to fend a snorter to Mayers at first slip in the third over before getting Rassie van der Dussen caught by Mayers running around behind the ’keeper after the batsman gloved another short ball in the fifth over.
Markram (25), leading the side in place of the injured Temba Bavuma, propped up the innings in a 37-run stand with Tony de Zorzi (21) but when both perished in the space of nine balls with 14 runs added, the game was wide open once again.
The right-handed Klaasen took the game away, however. He launched a calculated attack on the West Indies bowlers en route to his half-century off 30 balls in the 19th over, before reaching his second ODI hundred in the 27th over off just 54 balls – the fourth fastest by a South African.