Makhaya Ntini XI v West Indians, Buffalo Park December 15, 2007

Rain leaves West Indians frustrated losers

Makhaya Ntini XI 176 for 9 (Pollock 54) beat West Indians 110 for 5 (Chanderpaul 44) on faster scoring rate

Jonty Rhodes turns back the clock during his breezy 25 © Cricinfo / Keith Lane
A ferocious Shaun Pollock half-century and brilliant fielding near the end propelled the Makhaya Ntini XI to a five-wicket win over the West Indians in their rain-aborted limited-overs tour opener. Ntini's XI piled up 176 for 9 off their 25 overs and the West Indians had reached 110 for 5 in the 17th over when heavy rain at Buffalo Park forced a premature finish.

Pollock stroked a blazing 54 to power Ntini XI's batting, then with rain threatening and a tight battle ensuing when the West Indians were chasing, Herschelle Gibbs and retired international Jonty Rhodes were dazzling in the field and stifled the bid for quick runs in the closing stages. "It was building up to be a real cliffhanger and it is a bit of a shame the rain had to come in when it did," West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo said after the game.

The hosts scored briskly after choosing to bat, but lost wickets regularly from the third over when Tyron Henderson was run out with 22 runs on the board. The run-rate at that time was nearing nine-an-over, due mainly to Gibbs. He lashed 17 off 10 balls with two fours and a six before Fidel Edwards spectacularly bowled him at 29 for 2 in the fourth over. Pedro Collins, the left-arm quick bowler, struck in the next over having Mark Boucher caught behind for a duck.

Jacques Kallis thumped three fours and two sixes in a 20-ball knock of 27 before Bravo sent him back, caught behind at 66 for 4 in the tenth over. Darren Sammy then struck two quick blows when he dislodged Rhodes and Pieter Strydom with successive balls in the 13th over as Ntini's side dipped to 93 for 6.

Ntini linked up with Pollock and the former South Africa captain accelerated the late-innings run charge with a 40-ball 54. Pollock smashed three sixes and two fours, and Ntini stayed with him as they registered an innings-best partnership of 52 for the eighth wicket that ended when Pollock lofted Edwards to Collins at long-off.

Like the Ntini XI, the West Indians lost their first wicket in the third over. Pollock trapped Brenton Parchment leg before and the out-of-form Devon Smith went soon after, run out for 11 in the fifth over. It became 34 for 3 when Mfuneko Ngam dislodged Samuels caught behind, and Denesh Ramdin went next for 20, bowled by Henderson to leave them 65 for four in the 11th over as the fast bowlers threatened to rip through the middle order. But Shivnarine Chanderpaul kept up West Indian hopes with a shot-filled 44 off 27 balls.

Chanderpaul, who was this week named Guyana's 2007 Cricketer of the Year, belted six fours and one six before Paul Adams snatched a return catch. When Chanderpaul departed at the end of the 14th over, with the score on 101 for 5, Runako Morton joined Bravo with the West Indians needing 76 runs to win from 66 balls.

With rain drizzling, Bravo and Morton tried to quicken the scoring rate with big shots but failed to pierce the field.