Cape Town - Less than 24 hours after arriving in India, Quinton de Kock had to be rushed into action by a South Africa ‘A’ squad ravaged by food poisoning but the youngster responded with his ninth List A century in the tri-series match against India ‘A’ in Chennai on Sunday.
In the end it was not enough to save the day as the home side won by 8 wickets with more than 12 overs to spare which meant that they claimed a bonus point as well. Having played two of their four qualifying matches it is now almost impossible for the South Africans to qualify for the final.
With half of the squad going down ill overnight, the South Africans were forced to play an ill-balanced starting XI which had only four frontline bowlers, with the likes of Dean Elgar and Khaya Zondo to make up the rest of the overs.
Reeza Hendricks, Zondo and Mthokozisi Shezi were all on the sick list but had to play because there was nobody else available.
All three had to be hospitalised during the course of the match though, while the same applied to De Kock who was hospitalised after the match.
The loss of frontline bowler Shezi after he had sent down only four overs was a severe blow as Elgar then had to fulfil the role of fourth bowler and, when the game ended, only two overs out of the fifth bowler’s ration had been sent down.
As it was they had to enlist the services of video analyst, Hendrikus Coertzen, as a fielder and also borrow a fielder from India ‘A’, Mandeep Singh.
South Africa still had a chance of getting into the game after posting a total of 244 thanks to an inspired new ball effort from Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Hardus Viljoen.
After four overs, two of which were maidens, India only had two runs on the board and Viljoen was unlucky in that a claimed catch by Theunis de Bruyn at second slip, offered by Mayank Agarwal, could not be confirmed by TV replays and the umpire stayed with his original soft indication of ‘not out’.
The fifth over, bowled by Tsotsobe, was another maiden but crucially he had the bad luck of seeing the other opener, Unmukt Chand, dropped twice in the space of four balls, first by Dane Vilas behind the stumps and then by De Kock at backward point.
That was as good as it got for the visitors as Agarwal and Chand proceeded to post a partnership of 219 in 34.4 overs which effectively killed the target. Agarwal made 130 (122 balls, 16 fours and a six) and Chand 90 (94 balls, 8 fours and 2 sixes).
Tsotsobe was the pick of the attack (1/32 in 7.4 overs).
De Kock made his 108 runs off 124 balls (13 fours and a six) but the only other contribution of note came from Vilas (50 off 50 balls, 3 fours and 3 sixes). The two put on 100 for the fifth wicket in 15.3 overs.
South Africa ‘A’ were due to play Australia ‘A’ on Monday but due to circumstances (10 players in hospital) the match has been put back to Tuesday.