Mohali, March 3 (IANS) Centuries from Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers helped South Africa recover from a slow start and score 351 for five against the Netherlands in a Group B match of the World Cup here Thursday.
Amla (113) and de Villiers (134) were involved in a record 221-run stand for the third wicket after South Africa lost two wickets for just 58 runs in the 16th over.
Put in to bat under overcast conditions at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) ground, South Africa made a watchful start as Dutch medium pacers got some assistance from the moisture in the track due to overnight rain.
Medium pacer Mudassar Bukhari was most economical of the Dutch bowlers with his steady line and length, giving away just 17 runs in his first spell of six overs.
He conceded 44 runs from his 10 overs. Ryan ten Doeschate bagged three wickets but gave away 72 runs from his 10 overs.
Graeme Smith (20) and Jacques Kallis (2) departed in quick succession, paving the way for Amla and de Villiers, who struck his second successive century, to set the highest third-wicket stand for the Proteas.
Amla made most of the opportunity he got on 18, when he edged Bukhari to wicketkeeper Wesley Baressi in the seventh over.
Amla was on his way but umpire Richard Kettleborough ruled it not out after consulting the Third umpire. TV replays showed that the ball touched the ground before Baressi took the catch.
The pitch eased out gradually and both Amla and De Villiers played crisp strokes on both sides of the wicket. Amla struck eight fours in his 130-ball knock for his eighth ODI century.
De Villiers played an aggressive knock for his 11th hundred, smashing 14 fours and four sixes in his 98-ball stay.
He got to his 50 off 58 balls and went after spinner Pieter Seelaar in the 42nd over.
De Viliers hit Seelaar for two sixes and a four and tonked medium pacer Bernard Loots for three consecutive sixes in a 24-run 44th over.
Doeschate struck in the 45th over to get rid of Amla and in the next over de Villiers was run out. Jean Paul Duminy then played a cameo of 40 off 15 balls to take the score past 350.