Rain grants plodding Proteas a reprieve

The rain in Southampton let South Africa finally get on the scoreboard in the World Cup as they earned their first point after a No Result washout against the West Indies on Monday.

While the Proteas need every single point they can muster in order to keep their slim semi-final hopes alive, they probably weren’t shedding too many tears that the game was called off.

That’s because Sheldon Cottrell had been busy tearing through their top-order, reducing them to 29 for two in 7.3 overs when rain forced the players from the field after 40 minutes of play.

A shortened game after that start and with the West Indies starting their chase with all 10 wickets in hand would have given the Caribbean team a huge advantage.

Captain Faf du Plessis lost the toss and South Africa had been sent in to bat in gloomy, overcast conditions ideal for pace bowling.

Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram were then promptly dismissed to pile more pressure on a batting line-up that is still trying to deal with the fall-out from AB de Villiers and his retraction of his Dear Jane letter/video.

Two balls after stroking left-armer Cottrell gracefully through point for four, Amla (6) then went after a short delivery with a fierce cut-shot. But there was no width and more than enough pace and bounce, and the struggling veteran was caught at slip.

Markram had also hit a fine boundary in his score of 5, but he was then caught down the leg-side by wicketkeeper Shai Hope on the leg-glance as Cottrell directed another fierce short ball at the batsman’s body.

In the light of what Indian captain Virat Kohli had said about the first hour at Southampton being like a Test match, Markram would perhaps have been prudent to play no shot at all.

Only eight more balls were bowled with Quinton de Kock, who overturned a poor caught behind decision on 1, battling his way to 17 not out, while Du Plessis had no score after facing seven deliveries.

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