February 18, 2003

Rain brings an early end to proceedings in Benoni

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The weather proved to be the winner at Willowmoore Park in Benoni where the match between West Indies and Bangladesh was washed out after 8.1 overs were bowed in the Bangladesh innings. The points are shared, much to the relief of South Africa whose chances of reaching the Super Sixes are greatly revived.

Earlier the West Indies, asked to bat after losing the toss, scored 244 for nine against a disciplined Bangladesh attack.

West Indies reached just 171 for five in 43 overs, and the Bangladesh bowlers can take pride in the fact that they restricted the strong batting line up to around four runs per over for most of the innings.

But a flurry from the hard-hitting Ricardo Powell, captain Carl Hooper and to a lesser extent Mervyn Dillon saw West Indies score 73 runs in the final seven overs. Powell cleared the ropes on four occasions, once clearing the grass spectator embankment with a lot to spare.

The right-handed Powell scored his 50 off 31 balls in 33 minutes at the crease, restoring some respectability to the innings.

Surprisingly the day started on schedule, under overcast skies and lights, after heavy overnight and light morning rain had threatened a delay.

Bangladesh made full use of the conditions, bowling to a good length. They struck early, having Wavell Hinds and Chris Gayle back in the change-rooms inside the first ten overs.

Brian Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul played unusually subdued innings, adding 68 off 101 balls, including six fours.

Chanderpaul was trapped lbw for 29 off 53 balls, while Al Sahariar brilliantly caught Lara in the covers for 46 (76 balls).

Ramnaresh Sarwan (13) and Cal Hooper (45) both fell caught and bowled, but it was the 50 from the big-hitting Powell that allowed West Indies to set a reasonable target.

The wickets were shared between the brave Bangladesh bowlers, whose figures all looked good before the attack from Powell. Manjural Islam finished with 3/62, Khaled Mahmud 2/48, Ehsanul Haque 2/34 and Alok Kapali 1/3.

In 8.1 difficult overs from Dillon and Vasbert Drakes, Bangladesh managed to score 32 for two before the rain put paid to any further play.

Ehsanul Haque narrowly avoided the distinction of being dismissed first ball in consecutive matches when Gayle dropped him at second slip off Drakes. Hooper dropped him again at first slip off the same bowler before Dillon produced a ball that nipped away off the seam to clip the top of Haque's stumps for 12.

Al Sahariar was also lucky to get away with a catch to Hooper, again at first slip, in the third over off Dillon. Gayle made amends for his earlier drop when Drakes had Sahariar pushing forward and edging to second slip for five.

With the rain falling harder the umpires took the players off the field with Bangladesh on 32 for two. It never let up and the game was called off at 17:00 local time.