Covid-19 variant may scupper SA's plans to qualify directly for Cricket World Cup

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Members of the Proteas ODI squad during training. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)
Members of the Proteas ODI squad during training. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)
  • The postponed ODI series between South Africa and the Netherlands may have long-term ramifications for the Proteas in the ODI Super League.
  • The Proteas are ninth on the 13-team log with 39 points.
  • Maximum points from the remaining two games after Friday's washout would have lifted them into the relative safety of the mid-table.

The postponed ODI series between South Africa and the Netherlands has more ramifications for the former because of their precarious ODI league log ranking.

The uncompleted series that only had one game take place on Friday, with other two scheduled for Sunday and Wednesday falling away because of the Omicron Covid-19 variant that was discovered by South African scientists last week, may have ramifications for the Proteas in their quest to qualify for the 2023 Cricket World Cup.

The five points Keshav Maharaj's side gained from Friday's washout moved them to 39 points, but they stay in ninth place.

In order for them to qualify directly for the 10-team tournament that'll take place in India, they have to finish in the top order (top 8).

Friday's rain and the series' postponement robbed the South Africans of the chance to go as high as third and stay there until mid-December because of opposing teams being caught up with Test cricket.

Thirty points from a 3-0 series win would have moved them to 64 points and third on the standings ahead of Australia, whose next ODI engagement is at the end of January against New Zealand.

In the event of a completed series, the only teams who would have threatened SA were Pakistan and the West Indies, who have an ODI series set for mid-December.

That said, SA's next ODI tasks are India, Bangladesh, England, and Australia - teams who have collected points and will be tougher teams to navigate than the Netherlands.

India will be SA's next limited-overs challenge if Covid-19 doesn't intervene, for the virus has now claimed two out of three ODI series that should have taken place in SA.

Failure to qualify directly for the Cricket World Cup would force the Proteas into the Cricket World Cup Qualifier event where the top two teams advance to the tournament proper.

The qualifier event is scheduled to take place in June and July 2023 in Zimbabwe, with 10 teams taking part.

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