“Trust in myself and believe in my skills” – Shai Hope’s unbeaten 128 Helps West Indies Post a Total of 335/8

50 overs West Indies 335 for 8 (Hope 128*, Powell 46, Coetzee 3-57) vs South Africa

Shai Hope scored a century in his first match as West Indies ODI captain as they put on their highest score against South Africa in the format, and the second highest at Buffalo Park.

As a result, they asked South Africa to complete the highest successful chase at the venue too; the best so far is 257, but that was 29 years ago, with the pace of fifty-over cricket significantly changed since.

Hope’s 14th ODI ton meant South Africa will have to reel in the highest successful run-chase at this ground and embark on another tall batting effort in their limited-overs summer.

The highest score made batting second in East London was Sri Lanka’s 257/5 against New Zealand in the Mandela Cup in 1994, signifying the difficult nature of the task that awaits Temba Bavuma and his charges.

Hope (128*), who won the toss and chose to bat first on a benign surface that at times showed signs of grip and turgidness, made the most of a decent start afforded to him by Kyle Mayers (36) and Brandon King (30) to keep the Windies going in the middle overs.

They were up against a South African side that featured four debutants in Ryan Rickelton, Tony de Zorzi, Gerald Coetzee, and Tristan Stubbs after Reeza Hendricks lacerated a ring finger in Friday’s training session.

Coetzee wasn’t given the new ball, but bowled exceptionally well when the visitors were looking to run away with the game after the handy start from Mayers and King.

Mayers in particular, took full toll of anything short or full to race to 36 off 26 before he holed out to Ryan Rickelton at deep mid-wicket while trying to pull Bjorn Fortuin (2/57).

That wicket ended a healthy 67-run opening stand that came off 52 balls and its importance became clear when the Windies lost two quick wickets in 10 balls for the addition of just four runs.

Shamarh Brooks (0) became Coetzee’s (3/57) first wicket in ODI cricket when he chopped one onto his stumps while Fortuin yorked King to leave the West Indies slightly floundering at 71/3 after 10.1 overs.

Hope and Nicholas Pooran (39) then rectified matters with a forthright 86-run stand that came off just 81 balls before Pooran picked out Rassie van der Dussen at mid-wicket off Coetzee.

Hope was more than satisfied to let the trigger-happy Rovman Powell (46) take charge of their 80-run stand that came off 83 balls.

It was a stand that threatened to take the game away from the hosts, especially when Powell slapped two consecutive sixes off Lungi Ngidi (0/77).

However, Powell, who had his eye in and looked particularly dangerous, was foxed by a Coetzee slower-ball bouncer that he chopped onto his stumps.

Hope then partnered with Jason Holder (15) for a 42-run stand that was ended when Holder was trapped in front on review by Tabraiz Shamsi (2/62).

The fall of Holder’s scalp led to a slowdown that saw the wickets of Akeal Hosein (2) and Odean Smith (1) to Marco Jansen (1/77) and Shamsi respectively.

Hope remained the bulwark for the Windies and in raising his ton off 104 balls, he dominated the 42-run ninth-wicket stand between him and Alzarri Joseph (13*) that not only took them past the 292 made in 1999, but to a total that’s never been successfully reeled in at this ground.

However, it was only six weeks back that South Africa had chased down 343 against England in Bloemfontein.

They are without six of the XI from that day through a combination of squad rotation, injuries and illness, and have three debut batters in the team – Ryan Rickelton, Tony de Zorzi and Tristan Stubbs – as they test their depth.

West Indies: 335/8 (Shai Hope 128*, Rovman Powell 46, Nicholas Pooran 39, Kyle Mayers 36, Gerald Coetzee 3/57, Bjorn Fortuin 2/57, Tabraiz Shamsi 2/62)

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