Even in a washed-out warm-up match, South Africa gave a glimpse of what their openers might have to offer this World Cup. Hashim Amla (51* off 46) and Quinton de Kock (37* off 30) put on an unbeaten 95-run opening stand in 12.4 overs against the West Indies before the rain washed off the game.
Could West Indies have bowled better at them? Jason Holder, their captain, thinks so.
“The two batsmen played really well and the wicket played well. We have to make some slight adjustments in terms of our length as we were probably a little bit too short,” Holder said. “We offered a bit of width at times as well, so in these conditions where the ball doesn’t do as much, I just think we need to be as accurate as we possibly can in terms of line and length. Then we can try and create some problems there and I think if we can stack up some dot balls and stack up some pressure overs together, more often than not you get the wickets you want.”
West Indies are coming off consecutive defeats to Bangladesh in the tri-series in Ireland, and aren’t the most confident bunch in ODIs at the moment. They are still rediscovering themselves as a team after the return of some high profile names, without whom West Indies had learnt to live. Now they have to learn to live with them. Perhaps, that’s what a World Cup is all about.
“Andre Russell is one of those guys who is really impactful, he’s an impact player and he’s a match-winner, so we expect guys like him to play a big role in our World Cup campaign,” Holder said. “It’s a matter for everyone to come together. We also have guys like Nicholas Pooran, Evin Lewis, I could go through a whole host of names in this squad who are potential match-winners.
“It’s just about us bringing it together collectively and us delivering an attractive brand of cricket.”
On the injury management of Chris Gayle, who was out fielding during the warm-up, Holder said: “Chris is definitely up for it and we’re just trying to manage him over these two games, giving everyone a chance to get a hit out and a bowl. It’s one of these things where we just try to keep everyone as fresh as possible. Chris is one of the guys who carries a bit of age and he’s a senior guy within the squad.
“Although we want him to be out having a knock in the middle, we still want to manage him in terms of his time spent on his feet as to everyone else in the team. It’s a situation where we are just trying to manage everyone and I think everyone is equally committed as they should be and we’re just looking to start the tournament well.”
The next warm-up game for West Indies is against New Zealand on Tuesday, and the team will want to extract the maximum out of that match.
“It was not ideal today, but it’s out of our control,” Holder said. “Obviously it’s a situation where we need to hope we get some cricket in the next two days against New Zealand. I’m definitely not [worried about being underprepared]. We just came from Ireland and playing the Tri-Nations Series there, so we’ve had a lot of cricket leading up to this. Guys have been playing IPL cricket and everyone was playing cricket leading up to this tournament, so I think we’re all well attuned to the conditions.”