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Ireland's World Cup dreams are given a major boost

By Ian Callender

South Africa sealed victory in the one-day series against West Indies with an emphatic nine-wickets win in East London to take an unbeatable 3-0 lead and give Ireland more encouragement ahead of their World Cup opener next month.

After choosing to bat first, West Indies were bowled out for just 122, an innings which included a number of embarrassing shots, and they then dropped three catches as South Africa knocked off the runs inside 25 overs.

Captain AB de Villiers, who hit that remarkable 149 from just 44 balls in the second game on Sunday, did not even have to bat as Test match captain Hashim Amla followed up his career best 153 not out with an unbeaten 61.

Both teams are in Ireland's group at the World Cup but victory over the West Indies in Nelson on February 16 is Ireland's best route to the quarter-finals.

Niall O'Brien, a certain starter for that match, yesterday signed a new one-year contract extension with Leicestershire, keeping him there until 2016.

O'Brien said: "I am delighted to commit my future to Leicestershire. It is the start of a new dawn at Grace Road and I am very pleased to be part of it."

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