WORLD CUP: South Africa 95-0 before rain washes out warm-up with WI

SUMMARY: South Africa 95-0 (Amla 51*, de Kock 37*) v West Indies


Unlike the Bangladesh v Pakistan game in Cardiff – where the captains couldn’t even go out for the toss – there was a bit of action in Bristol. Just about.

West Indies, after opting to field, got to bowl a total of 12.4 overs – in spells of 8.2, 1.1 and 3.1 – at Hashim Amla and Quinton de Kock, in which South Africa scored 95 runs, before the stop-start encounter was called off, everyone having had enough of watching the rain.

It was South Africa’s last warm-up fixture before their tournament opener on May 30 against hosts England at The Oval in London, and they would certainly have wanted a proper hit out.

Amla, who had scored a 61-ball 65 in their earlier game against Sri Lanka, looked good again, scoring 51 in 46 balls, while de Kock, who didn’t get a bat in that 87-run win, also hit his stride, scoring a 30-ball 37.

Rain was always in the air, and while Jason Holder opted to bowl first to “make good use” of the conditions, Amla was the one to actually cash in early on, a flick to midwicket and a cut past point earning him two boundaries in the first over bowled by Holder.

Sheldon Cottrell looked impressive with the new ball initially, bowling with pace, and getting some balls up to around the throat, till the batsmen had his measure in the sixth over.

The first reared from a back of a length to rap de Kock’s gloves, but Amla leaned into a drive beautifully on the third ball, and de Kock sent the last two balls of the over for fours down the ground and over the slips.

The team fifty came up in 7.1 overs, and Amla and de Kock looked good to go on and give South Africa a super platform when, after two balls in the ninth over, the players had to rush off the ground.

Point of concern – Shannon Gabriel, who bowled those two deliveries, looked like he had suffered a strain of some sort, and didn’t come back to complete the over after the break. Andre Russell did, instead, and after three more balls from Holder, we were off again.

The rain was such that there was always a chance of play resuming, and after a long wait, the two teams took guard again for a 31-overs-a-side playoff. Perhaps seeing the writing in the clouds, Amla and de Kock really opened up.

Between them, they hit five fours and a six – Amla ramping Oshane Thomas over third man – in the 19 balls of play possible, before they went off again, this time for good.

From South Africa’ point of view, the form of the two openers was a big positive, while West Indies mainly took back negatives – their bowlers lacked discipline, and the fielding looked a bit worse for wear at times.

Holder agreed after the game that West Indies needed to be tidier with the ball.

“We have to make some slight adjustments in terms of our length as we were probably a little bit too short,” he said. “We offered a bit of width at times as well. In these conditions, where the ball doesn’t do as much, I just think we need to be as accurate as we possibly can in terms of line and length. Then we can try and create some problems there. I think if we can stack up some dot balls and stack up some pressure overs together, more often than not you get the wickets you want.”

While South Africa now go straight into the main tournament, West Indies have another workout slotted against New Zealand on Tuesday, May 28, to try and iron out the creases. (ESPNCricinfo)


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