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Hashim Amla and the rest of the South Africa top order looking in good nick ahead of the World Cup opener

Hashim Amla
Hashim Amla
©Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

South Africa’s top-order put the finishing touches on their World Cup preparations in a rain-affected encounter against West Indies in Bristol.

  • Hashim Amla scored his second successive half century in South Africa’s rain-affected warm up against West Indies.
  • South Africa take on England in the opening match of the ICC Men’s World Cup 2019 on 30 May 
South Africa’s top-order put the finishing touches on their World Cup preparations in a rain-affected encounter against West Indies in Bristol. 

Hashim Amla scored his second, successive half-century, off just 44 balls, after finding form in the first warm-up match on Friday. 

There, Amla’s touch and timing was apparent, here, he was fine-tuning, turning the wrists over and scoring quickly. 

In addition to his eight boundaries, Amla also struck the only six of the innings, a ramp shot off Oshane Thomas to out-bat is regular opening partner, Quinton de Kock. 

The wicket-keeper-batsman returned to the line-up after being rested from the first warm-up game and picked up from where he left off at the Indian Premier League, where he was the third-highest run-scorer. 

De Kock powered his way to 37 off 30 balls, which included a cracking cover drive and two meaty pulls before the first rain delay.

After an initial interruption of 29 minutes, the players came back for seven balls before being forced off the field for a further three-and-a-half hours. 

The stop-start nature of the day did not affect South Africa’s opening pair and they returned from the long delay to score 35 runs off 20 balls before the drizzle returned and play was called off. 

While Amla and de Kock could be content with their efforts, the wash-out meant that the rest of South Africa’s line-up were unable to cash in on a flat surface and fast outfield. 

In particular, Aiden Markam, who is competing for a place in the final XI and David Miller, who was dismissed cheaply on Friday, would have wanted some time in the middle. 

Both Markram and Miller were in the nets, though, facing throw-downs from South Africa’s coaching staff and Dale Steyn, who is returning to full fitness. 

Steyn has not been part of either of South Africa’s warm-up matches as he continues to recover from the shoulder injury he sustained last month and appears to be progressing well. 

With three more days before South Africa’s campaign begins, Steyn’s participation in the match against England has yet to be confirmed but indications are that he will not be rushed into the XI before he is fully fit. 
The rest of South Africa’s attack also did not have the opportunity for another run out because of the rain. Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi seem to be over their back and side strains respectively and may have wanted another competitive fitness test while Dwaine Pretorius and Chris Morris are searching for consistency as they tussle over the allrounder spot.

But, with some selection questions yet to be answered, South Africa’s competitive match preparation is now complete. They will travel to London on Monday and have two training sessions before kicking off the 2019 World Cup against the hosts, England, at The Oval on Thursday.