First ODI abandoned due to rain as Covid-19 threatens Netherlands series, Proteas summer

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South African wicketkeeper/batsman Kyle Verreynne (AFP)
South African wicketkeeper/batsman Kyle Verreynne (AFP)

The rain had the final say in the Proteas opening ODI against the Netherlands, which was abandoned following heavy rain at the change of innings at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday.

Kyle Verreynne's 95 and Andile Phehlukwayo's 22-ball 48 that guided South Africa to 277/8 should have been the highlight of the day.

However, rain intervened two overs into the Netherland's innings and ended the game with the visitors on 11/0, from where the new Covid-19 variant took centre-stage.

The new B.1.1.529 Covid-19 variant that was announced by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases on Thursday not only sent shockwaves through Europe to a point where the United Kingdom put South Africa on it's red list, but led to the Netherlands initially cancelling their ODI series.

However, a Cricket South Africa (CSA) statement that came out on Friday afternoon said a decision will be made in the next 24 to 48 hours with regards to the resumption of the tour.

The variant has also led to the postponement of this weekend's United Rugby Championship matches.

In the statement, CSA said the Koninklijke Nederlandse Cricket Bond (KNCB) needed to put the mental welfare of its players first.

"The KNCB is reviewing all of its options, while prioritising the physical and mental well-being of its players," the statement said.

"A decision on the continuation of the series will follow in the next 24 to 48 hours, while all flight options are being considered."

SCORECARD | Proteas v Netherlands - 1st ODI

The unfolding situation and the rain literally dampened what was a sparkling salvage knock from Verreynne.

The 24-year-old's carefully measured hand, his third ODI 50, dragged South Africa from a problematic 24/2 in the seventh over after Reeza Hendricks (6) and Janneman Malan (16) frittered away their starts.

After a middle order stutter that saw South Africa slip from 143/2 to 209/7 after Verreynne's and Zubayr Hamza's (56) third-wicket stand of 119 righted SA's bad start, Phehlukwayo's ballistic knock with one four and six sixes was the fulcrum of a forceful 68-run eighth-wicket with captain Keshav Maharaj stand that saved Verreynne's hard work.

It left the game delicately poised and the visitors started positively through Max O'Dowd (2*) and Stephan Myburgh (9*) before the heavens opened.

The rain for now seems the least of CSA's problems.

The second ODI is scheduled for Sunday at Centurion (10:00).

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