Bloemfontein: An unbeaten 97 from West Indian batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul guided his team to a comfortable 41-run victory over South African province, Free State in a World Cup warm-up match played in Bloemfontein on Monday. The Windies, who are due to take on hosts South Africa in the World Cup opener on Sunday, looked the part for much of the match scoring 267 after being put in to bat by the hosts, the Free State Eagles.
They then had the Eagles on the ropes after quick bowler Corey Collymore picked up three early wickets to leave the home team on 52 for four. But the Eagles, bolstered by a fine knock of 96 from opener Jonathan Beukes, lifted faint hopes but once he was bowled by Ricardo Powell the match was all over. But it was the Windies who earned the kudos in its first two warm-up games in the country. Despite losing wickets at regular intervals the Windies batsmen chipped in around the unflappable bat of Chanderpaul with Chris Gayle hitting 44 and Brian Lara 45.
For the Free State, former South African international Victor Mpitsang was impressive picking up 3 for 33 in his 10 overs. The rest of the attack proved toothless with Dewald Pretorius going for 72 in his allotted overs, though he did picked up two wickets. In reply, the Eagles stuttered as first Morne van Wyk was out, caught by Carl Hooper at first slip off the bowling of Mervyn Dillon for 20.
Then Collymore staked a starting claim with an impressive burst with all three of his wickets coming by way of lbw decisions. That spell ended the chances for an Eagles victory and helped the Windies to a morale-boosting win. The Caribbean team now faces another provincial squad, Griquas, in the central city Kimberley on Wednesday.