Before the new Covid variant could spoil the party, rain jumped in on the action and washed out the opening ODI, although not entirely.
The first innings was played entirely, during which South Africa somehow got to 277-8, while two overs of the run chase were possible before the heavens opened up. The Dutch were 11-0 at that point.
South Africa may have been grateful to the God of weather as the Dutch, in their two-over stay at the crease, had looked fairly comfortable, and that was after a more than decent bowling effort, which was marred in the final over.
The hosts owed Andile Phehlukwayo big for their total. His 22-ball 48 laced with six sixes lifted the team from 225/7 at the end of 47th to 277 by the end of the 50th. Before him, debutant Zubayr Hamza’s 56 and Kyle Verreynne’s 95 had given the Proteas the foundation. Both the knock, however, were on the slower side.
It remains to be seen if the second ODI will be played, now that the world is panicking over a new variant of the coronavirus, which has been found in South Africa.
The only reason the first match even got played was that the Netherlands could not get a flight out of South Africa. Whether they will be able to do it now remains to be seen.
Abandoning tours is never fun but it would have been even less for the Dutch, who looked pretty decent in the first game and had their hosts set for a mediocre total before Phehlukwayo’s aforesaid destruction occurred.
Even then, had they gotten to their target of 278 against a side not featuring any of Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, and Anrich Nortje, it would not have been the biggest shock the world has ever seen. Max O’Dowd, who actually averages 56.50 in his young career, had hit a pair of boundaries before the weather went awry.
And as far as their bowling is concerned, it was a varied effort, with almost everyone chipping in but Fred Klaassen and Vivian Kingma were definitely the best of the lot, and their figures of 45-2 and 49-2 respectively could have been even better, had they not been punished mercilessly by Phehlukwayo in the final overs.