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Rain no reprieve for struggling Proteas

In good times this break might be viewed as a reprieve as the early losses of Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram for single-figure scores has left the Proteas struggling at 29 for 2. But, in case any fan needed reminding, these are not good times.

FILE: Proteas captain Faf du Plessis looks on while fielding during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match against Bangladesh at The Oval in London on 2 June 2019. Picture: AFP

LONDON - As has been predicted for over a week now, the pitch at Southampton’s Rose Bowl is now under covers as rain has brought a halt to South Africa’s innings against the West Indies after just 7.2 overs.

In good times this break might be viewed as a reprieve as the early losses of Hashim Amla and Aiden Markram for single-figure scores has left the Proteas struggling at 29 for 2. But, in case any fan needed reminding, these are not good times.

Faf du Plessis’ team limped into this match on the back of three consecutive defeats which meant this clash against a confident and aggressive Windies outfit carried extra importance. Defeat here would all but signal the end of the road at this year’s World Cup. It remains to be seen how a no-result and a single point may impact South Africa’s fortunes. Either way, this was not the start Du Plessis was hoping for.

The West Indians were on the board in just three overs as Sheldon Cottrell extracted extra bounce off the surface and found Amla’s edge for Chris Gayle to snaffle safely at first slip. In truth, it was a poor shot by the experienced opener who tried to a cut at a ball that was never wide enough to do so.

That brought Markram to the middle of a ground that has become a second home to him. He scored 130 off just 87 balls the last time he batted here when he took guard for Hampshire and he looked to have rediscovered his touch with a trademark drive through extra cover.

It wasn’t to be as extra bounce again from Cottrell accounted for his wicket when he looked to get bat on a rising short ball down the leg side but could only feather it for Shai Hope behind the stumps.

At the other end Quinton de Kock wasn’t having it his own way. The left hander was given out from the first ball he faced but reviewed the decision immediately, safe in the knowledge that Kemar Roach’s pearler had hit his arm and not his bat.

De Kock has had to work for his 17 off 21 balls. He has his captain Du Plessis for company who has yet to get off the mark from seven deliveries.

The rain is only getting heavier and the forecast is grim. In good times the energy in the change room would be patient and relaxed. In case you needed reminding, these aren’t good time for the Proteas.

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