Canberra, Australia: Hashim Amla and Faf Du Plessis scored centuries and shared a 247-run second-wicket stand against Ireland on Tuesday to steer South Africa to its second 400-plus total in four World Cup matches so far.
Rilee Russow (61) and David Miller (46) finished off the damage, sharing an unbroken 110-run stand in the last eight overs to lift South Africa to 411-4.
The South Africans were coming off a 257-run win over the West Indies in Sydney last Friday, when AB de Villiers struck an unbeaten 162 off 66 balls in a total of 408-5 — the then second-highest total ever at the World Cup behind India's 413-5 against Bermuda in 2011.
After just a three day break, South Africa's batting lineup turned it on again to improve its mark for the second-highest innings at the marquee tournament. It has been an emphatic response from South Africa after a disappointing loss to defending champion India.
This time, it wasn't de Villiers doing all the damage.
Opener Amla punished Ireland for a dropped catch when he was on 10, scoring a career-best 159 from 128 balls and controlling the partnership with du Plessis (109) after the pair joined in the third over with the total at 12.
Du Plessis was out with the total at 259 and Amla continued with AB de Villiers, who scored 24 from nine balls, until a double breakthrough from Andy McBride (2-63) temporarily slowed the South African onslaught. But the South African fifth-wicket pair took up the attack, with Russow hitting six boundaries and three sixes from his 30 balls and Miller also scoring at a strike-rate of 200. They took 24 off the last over from Kevin O'Brien.
Ireland has won both of its games so far chasing totals — a surprising four-wicket win over West Indies in its opener and a narrow, last-over win against the United Arab Emirates — but will need an unprecedented effort to make it three wins from three starts.
McBride coming in for pace bowler Alex Cusack was the only change for Ireland from its last win, and warranted his selection when he had Amla and de Villiers out within three balls in the 41st over.
Ed Joyce, who dropped the catch at mid-wicket off Kevin O'Brien's bowling in the sixth over, held on to the chance at long-off when Amla stepped down the pitch and lofted a McBrine ball into the deep. De Villiers' stay was brief, clubbing two sixes and a boundary in his nine balls before he top-edged an attempted reverse sweep from McBrine to Niall O'Brien at backward point with the total 301.