Rain dashes SA’s hopes of semi-final berth

Rain dashes SA’s hopes of semi-final berth


South Africa’s hopes of a semi-final place at the ICC World Cup 2019 seem to have been washed out along with their fixture against the West Indies at the Rose Bowl, London, on Monday.

The match between the two was abandoned after persistent heavy rain in Southampton, with both sides earning a point each.

The one point meant that South Africa finally got on board after three successive losses but that would do little to lift the mood in the Proteas camp. West Indies, on the other hand, have three points from as many matches with one win and a loss. There are three teams now with three points- Sri Lanka, Pakistan and West Indies. Afghanistan are the only team not to register a point so far.

South Africa, desperately needing a win after defeats in their first three matches of the tournament in England and Wales, lost the toss and were put in to bat under threatening skies. Rain rarely brings good news for South Africa. If the controversial rain rule led to South Africa’s shocking ouster in 1992 and 2003, this time it has pushed them to the precipice of an embarrassing exit in the group stage of the World Cup. They are now left with the tall ask of winning the remaining five league matches and hope a few other results go their way for an improbable semi-final entry.

Till the time they were on the field though, South Africa didn’t give off any vibe of a hope-inducing comeback. Sheldon Cottrell marched down the pitch and saluted twice in the space of 20 deliveries to scupper South Africa’s ambition of starting well. Caught between trying to cut and slash, Hashim Amla was overwhelmed by Cottrell’s pace and gave a chest-high catch to Chris Gayle in the slips. Aiden Markram tried to flick a short delivery but edged to wicket-keeper Shai Hope. Faf du Plessis did not open his account despite facing seven deliveries, showing the extent to which Windies dominated them.

What could have been an opportunity for West Indies to further test the mental strength of South Africa after three consecutive defeats and a nightmare start here turned into a damp squib.

The weather forecast for this week doesn’t bode well for the biggest ICC tournament. A Sunday Telegraph report forecast it would be the wettest June on record. Flood warnings have already been sounded in south-east England. June and July normally have the maximum rain in England.