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(ESPNCricinfo) — South Africa took on West Indies in Southampton, but it was rain that prevailed, with the match being abandoned at 4:15 pm, nearly six hours after rain had first arrived. Only 7.3 overs of play were possible in the South Africa’s innings. Both teams picked up a point each.
West Indies had put South Africa in to bat under leaden skies, and – as has been the case in their previous two outings – it didn’t take long for West Indies to strike with the new ball.
Bowling a bruising length, Sheldon Cottrell got Hashim Amla to glove one to Chris Gayle at first slip in his second over and then strangled Aiden Markram down the leg side – again flicking the glove – in the seventh over.
South Africa were wobbling precariously at 28-2, but almost immediately afterwards the heavens opened and the players were forced off from the field. Despite the Hover Cover over the pitch and Super Soppers patrolling the square, conditions never improved enough to allow play to resume.
That means that West Indies are now fifth on the table, with three points from three games, while South Africa finally have a point to their name, having lost three games on the trot heading in to this encounter. It is still theoretically possible for South Africa to resurrect their World Cup campaign, but it would be a miraculous comeback.
They may, perhaps, take some heart from history: Pakistan’s cup-winning campaign in 1992 started in similarly disastrous circumstances, with three losses and a no-result in their first five games.
If South Africa can win their next match, against Afghanistan in Cardiff on Saturday, they will be in exactly the same position Pakistan were in back in 1992.
As they look for this remarkable turnaround, South Africa will at have one of their premier bowlers back, with Faf du Plessis saying that Lungi Ngidi is in contention for their next game against Afghanistan.
West Indies will stay in Southampton for their next match, against the hosts England on Friday. Despite a middling position on the points table they, too, have a couple of injury worries, with Andre Russell having sat this game out with sore knees.
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