West Indies v South Africa 1st ODI – 5 Talking Points

West Indies v South Africa 1st ODI – 5 Talking Points

Kieron Pollard West Indies
West Indie’s Kieron Pollard hits a six during a One-day International (ODI) cricket match between the West Indies and South Africa in the Tri-Nation Series in Georgetown, Guyana on June 3, 2016. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images)

The international limited overs cricket was back in action with South Africa taking on the hosts West Indies in the tri-series opener at Guyana. The South Africans are always a formidable side in the limited overs, especially the ODIs, while on the other hand, the West Indies have come up with sporadic heroics in the recent past.

In such a backdrop, the Proteas were the favorites to win the contest, but it was spectacular return of Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard, that saw West Indies humble the mighty South Africa. Having won the toss, South Africa skipper AB de Villiers opted to bat first. South Africa bundled out on 188 in just under 47 overs. The Windies had a middle slump, but still managed to overhaul the target in 48 overs.

1. Rossouw-AB stabilise the innings but never look settled

The conditions were foreign and it looked grim for the visitors. Though Quinton de Kock showed great form, the other batsmen failed to look settled in the middle. Both the openers fell in the span of 3 balls and suddenly South Africa had two new batsmen in the middle. Rilee Rossouw and AB de Villiers then applied themselves in. The duo started off in an uncharacteristic manner. This was evident from the fact that AB did not hit a single boundary in his innings. They put on 78 runs in 120 balls for the 3rd wicket before AB was dismissed on 31 off 49 balls. Rossouw paraded the lone army for a brief while after that before getting dismissed on 61 off 83 but with only 2 boundaries.

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2. Narine’s phenomenal return:

The match marked the return on Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard. Narine showed what he is capable of in the limited overs. The wily spinner got rid off Hashim Amla in the early part of the innings and then bagged the key wicket of a settled Rossouw at a time when he looked to accelerate. Narine soon zipped through the lower order and this saw a total slump by the visitors as they could not even bat their 50 overs. A tremendous effort from Narine, and an equally below par batting effort from South Africa saw the visitors bowled out on 188. The chief destroyer on the night, Mr. Narine, bagged 6/27 in his 9.5 overs.

3. Tahir’s double blow:

The West Indies had a modest target to chase but the conditions seemed very difficult. The openers, Johnson Charles and Andre Fletcher, tried to play sensibly and hang around at the crease. They were successful in their attempt and put on 37 for the first wicket and saw the new ball through. However, it was Imran Tahir’s double strike that sent both the openers packing. Tahir got the wicket of Andre Fletcher in the 12th over and shattered his woodwork on 31 off 52. Around 5 overs later, he sent the other opening batsman, Charles, in a similar fashion by dislodging his stumps on 11. The double blow exposed the inconsistent middle order of West Indies and gave South Africa a brief grip on the game.

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4. Middle order slump:

The middle order, barring Darren Bravo, couldn’t do much on the day as Marlon Samuels, the man of World T20 finals, failed to score. He was caught plumb infront of the stumps by Aaron Phangiso for just 1. Denesh Ramdin’s stay of 23 balls at the crease wasn’t fruitful enough as he could add just 10 more to the team’s total. Carlos Brathwaite failed to impress and was dismissed cheaply as well. It was Darren Bravo and Kieron Pollard, who rose to the occasion and set the victory course for the hosts.

5. Pollard seals the game:

The big-hitting Kieron Pollard was the man of the occasion as he was the only batsman who looked acclimatised to the conditions. Pollard scored a breezy run-a-ball 67 to see the hosts through with 4 wickets in hand. He hit 2 fours and 6 sixes in his unbeaten knock and ensured the team was well over the line in just over 48 overs. It was Pollard’s return to the international scenario and the big man announced his re-arrival at the biggest stage in the biggest possible manner. His effort that included 6 sixes is evident of how well he applied himself. Interestingly, the entire South African team could not hit a single six in their innings.