'Proteas can take crown'

GEORGETOWN - Ireland's South African-born coach Adrian Birrell put aside national allegiance to admit he thinks Graeme Smith's Proteas have the heads and hearts to win their first World Cup crown.

GEORGETOWN - Ireland's South African-born coach Adrian Birrell put aside national allegiance to admit he thinks Graeme Smith's Proteas have the heads and hearts to win their first World Cup crown.

Birrell, speaking after watching South Africa cruise past his part-time Irish team by seven wickets in the Super Eights on Tuesday, saw enough to convince him that his compatriots can land the title in the final on April 28.

"I may be biased, but they are a quality side and have played a great brand of one-day cricket," said Birrell, who played and coached Eastern Province before taking over as Ireland coach in 2003. "It will all depend on their form in the coming games. If South Africa peak at the right time and play hard, quality matches, they can go all the way. They have every base covered and do each cricketing discipline very well."

South Africa's second Super Eights win, coming on the back of their narrow one-wicket victory over Sri Lanka last week, elevated them to fourth place in the Super Eights table and a provisional semifinal spot. - Sapa-AFP

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