AB De Villiers saw his brilliance put to an end just when he was turning on his magic, but South Africa bounced back from the scathing defeat to Pakistan with a stroll against UAE in Wellington.
De Villiers looked nailed-on for his second hundred at this ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, after initially taking his time along with David Miller as South Africa lost three early-enough wickets, but a flay outside off took the outer-edge of the bat and flew straight to short third man, leaving the great man, who would later pick up two wickets, having to make that walk back to the pavilion with 99 runs to his name.
Nevertheless, his 99 from just 82 balls (6x4, 4x6) set the platform for South Africa to go gung-ho in the final 10 overs, and they did that via the blade of Farhaan Behardien, in the side for the injured Faf Du Plessis, with the right-hander's blitz helping them to 341/6 in their 50 overs.
The chase was not very much of a chase by the UAE, unfortunately, with Morne Morkel, with some hostile, quick and short-pitched bowling scaring the bejeezus out of the UAE batsmen to snuff out any hopes they might have harboured of making a game of it.
As a result of the Morkel spell, after Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, returning from injury, had failed to find a way through the openers in the first six overs, UAE got stuck horribly with the run rate reduced to a crawl, at best.
The Associate side, who again played well in patches, eventually finished their innings on 195 in 47.3 overs to hand South Africa a big 146-run win and also ensure the Proteas would finish second in Pool B, behind India, and with it most-likely setup a clash with Sri Lanka in the quarterfinals.
The batting plan for South Africa, who chose to bat first after winning the toss, would have been to give Quinton De Kock as much time as possible in the middle and hope he makes a big score, but unfortunately, the left-hander's woeful World Cup continued, with the opener only managing 26 from 45 balls.
UAE were galvanised early on by the wicket of Hashim Amla, caught on the pull, in just the third over, with De Kock and Rilee Rossouw putting on 68 runs together, with the latter very much the main man in the partnership.
De Kock was sent back in the 16th over by Amjad Javed, before Rossouw (43, 49b, 8x4) fell to the UAE skipper Mohammad Tauqir a few balls later, which brought Miller (49, 48b, 2x4) and De Villiers to the crease. Their partnership of 108 runs from just under 18 overs set the game up for South Africa, with De Villiers doing what he had done for quite a while now – carry the load for his team.
His dismissal on 99 threatened to derail the innings a little bit, especially with JP Duminy (23, 28b, 1x4) struggling to break free, but Behardien made a case for his selection in the quarterfinals with a brilliant 31-ball 64 (5x4, 3x6), which put the match well beyond UAE's reach.
Get the Full Scorecard of the Match HERE