Commentary: South Africa Vs West Indies, 1st ODI

South Africa vs West Indies, 1st ODI

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled due to rain (no toss)


16:35 Local Time, 14:35 GMT, 20:05 IST: Well, there's the inevitable. With the rain showing no signs of respite, the officials were only left with one choice. The game has been called off. Hopefully the rain stays away for the 2nd ODI which is in two days' time at the same venue. Here's a bit of parting news, Aleem Dar has ended his prolific 19-year career as an Elite Panel Umpire, find out more in the story below. Until next time, take care and goodbye.

16:30 Local Time, 14:30 GMT, 20:00 IST: It has started to rain again and according to Philasande Sixaba who has tweeted: "Game should be abandoned soon here at Buffalo Park. The rain has persisted throughout the day. The covers are still on."

A cracking piece by Oliver Lawrie above on how one woman is trying to change the cricket landscape in Iran.

15:45 Local Time, 13:45 GMT, 19:15 IST: No change in status in East London. We will keep you entertained with more in-house content for the moment.

With the rain showing no signs of relenting. It's out of context but here's a must-read piece on RCBW star Kanika Ahuja by our very own Purnima Malhotra. Kanika starred with the bat in RCBW's first win this season and read on for more.

15:20 Local Time, 13:20 GMT, 18:50 IST: It has gotten even worse. The dark clouds are hovering around dangerously. The covers are firmly in place and we are no closer to getting a game in when we were when we started off the day. Fingers crossed still.

14:58 Local Time, 12:58 GMT, 18:28 IST: The rain has stopped and there's work being done on the covers again. Hopefully this time we can get started. Stick around for the latest.

14:25 Local Time, 12:25 GMT, 17:55 IST: It's gotten a lot darker and rainier. Looks like we won't be starting anytime soon unfortunately.

13:50 Local Time, 11:50 GMT, 17:20 IST: Still dark and dingy at East London. It isn't raining and hasn't been for a while but there hasn't been much progress made towards getting the covers dry. There's no activity at the ground at all now, covers firmly in place.

13:25 Local Time, 11:25 GMT, 16:55 IST: As it turns out, the covers haven't been peeled off. They've just been moved around and spread out a bit more, presumably because they can be dried quicker because it isn't raining at the minute. Frustratingly slow progress being made though.

13:05 Local Time, 11:05 GMT, 16:35 IST: The rain has seemingly halted. The ground staff can be seen moving around trying get things dried up. It's still very cloudy though and we haven't got any revised timings as yet. The covers are being peeled off slowly.

12:55 Local Time, 10:55 GMT, 16:25 IST: We're just 5 minutes away from the scheduled start of play and it isn't looking great I'm afraid. The covers are firmly in place all over the square and there's still a pattering of rain. We'll keep you updated with the latest.

12:20 Local Time, 10:20 GMT, 15:50 IST: After taking a 2-0 beating in the Test series, a very different looking Windies side will be looking to set the records straight. In what is largely an inconsequential series, Shai Hope will be looking to set his captaincy tenure off on the right foot. For Temba Bavuma and company, it'll be about finding the right combinations and getting some good white-ball preparation leading up to an important series against the Netherlands. Unfortunately, we might be made to wait for the start today because it is raining in East London. This most likely means that the toss will be delayed, but do stick around, we'll keep you posted with the latest.

Preview by Telford Vice

"Small earthquake in Peru, no-one killed." That, junior journalists in South Africa used to be told by grizzled, hard-hearted editors, would be the definitive headline on the definition of a non-story. The men's ODI series between South Africa and West Indies, which starts in East London on Thursday, presents a sporting equivalent: three games not in the World Cup Super League (WCSL) schedule. What's the point?

The problem with inventing a mechanism to give cricket context, of which the WCSL is a prime example, is that games that do not fall within its ambit are rendered irrelevant and redundant. Talking about prime examples, this series is exhibit A.

Maybe the closest we can get to a reason for the rubber to be played is that it offers the South Africans time to tune up for their two games against the Netherlands in the coming weeks - which are indeed WCSL fixtures - and the West Indians a chance to accustom themselves to conditions similar to those they will encounter in the World Cup qualifier in Zimbabwe in June and July.

The outcome of another WCSL series, between New Zealand and Sri Lanka on March 25, 28 and 31, has a direct bearing on whether South Africa will qualify directly for the World Cup in India in October and November, or join the Windies in Zimbabwe. There's a delicious tension in the South Africans playing their first match against the Dutch on the same day - but hours afterwards - that the Kiwis and Lankans complete their rubber.

Both South Africa and West Indies have new normals to get used to in the next few days. Rob Walter will be on hand for the first time as the home side's white-ball coach. His appointment was announced on January 16, but Shukri Conrad, his Test counterpart, took care of the shop during the ODI series against England in the last week of February. Or while Walter was still in New Zealand, where he had coached since 2016.

Temba Bavuma told a press conference in East London on Wednesday that the transition had been smooth: "The chats are a continuation of what we had during the ODI series against England. As much as Rob wasn't there, he was interacting and actively involved with the guys. It's a matter of using that same language and using this opportunity against West Indies to refine our way of playing."

Shai Hope has played 161 matches for West Indies across the formats, but this will be his first game as captain. Might it unsettle him that the man he replaced at the wheel, Nicholas Pooran, is also in the squad? As is Rovman Powell, Hope's vice-captain, who has led the Windies in three ODIs and a T20I.

South Africa's men's team were last in East London for an ODI in October 2017. West Indies have played only two games of any sort here, most recently an ODI in January 2015. But both teams can rest assured that not much about the conditions has changed. The pitch promises to be slow and the bounce low, and there will be wind.

Totals of at least 300 have eluded teams in Buffalo Park's last five list A games, which have delivered two centuries and two hauls of four or more wickets. This is not a place to play pretty cricket, but it does tend to bring out the best in those who win here. Even in matches devoid of context.

When: March 16, 2023; 1pm Local Time (4.30pm IST)

Where: Buffalo Park, East London

What to expect: A sleepy surface that could be granted a spike of life by an 80% forecast for rain on Wednesday night. That's mitigated by the patchy history of drainage at this ground.

Team news:

South Africa:

There's a lot going on here. Wiaan Mulder and Keshav Maharaj have been withdrawn because of a side strain and a ruptured Achilles. Wayne Parnell, himself a squad replacement for Mulder, has come down with an illness but managed to train on Wednesday. Consequently, Marco Jansen and Tabraiz Shamsi have been added to the squad. Sisanda Magala has split the webbing on his bowling hand. Andile Phehlukwayo is battling lower back spasms. Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje have been rested, as has Aiden Markram - but only for the first two games. David Miller, who is playing in the PSL, is available only for the third match.

Possible XI: Temba Bavuma (capt), Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Tony de Zorzi, Heinrich Klaasen, Tristan Stubbs, Wayne Parnell, Gerald Coetzee, Lungi Ngidi, Bjorn Fortuin, Tabraiz Shamsi

West Indies:

Unlike their opponents, there's little to report. Everyone in the squad is fit and well and available for selection.

Possible XI: Shai Hope (capt), Kyle Mayers, Nicholas Pooran, Brandon King, Roston Chase, Shamarh Brooks, Rovman Powell, Keacy Carty, Jason Holder, Shannon Gabriel, Yannic Cariah

What they said:

"You want to keep that good thing going. But you can't ignore the fact that this is a big year from a 50-over point of view. That's the main priority." - Temba Bavuma on transferring Test success to ODIs.

"The qualifiers are just down the road but the main focus for now is the South Africa series. We definitely need to qualify for the World Cup. Everything we do now is geared towards that." - Shai Hope outlines the West Indian mindset.


South Africa Squad: Quinton de Kock(w), Temba Bavuma(c), Reeza Hendricks, Rassie van der Dussen, Tristan Stubbs, Tony de Zorzi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Gerald Coetzee, Sisanda Magala, Bjorn Fortuin, Lungi Ngidi, Wayne Parnell, Lizaad Williams, Tabraiz Shamsi, Ryan Rickelton

West Indies Squad: Shai Hope(w/c), Kyle Mayers, Shamarh Brooks, Brandon King, Nicholas Pooran, Keacy Carty, Jason Holder, Romario Shepherd, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Yannic Cariah, Rovman Powell, Roston Chase, Odean Smith, Shannon Gabriel