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West Indies record a win at last

Ken Borland
16 December 1998

THE West Indies recorded the first win of their troubled tour of South Africa yesterday with a resounding eight-wicket victory over a lacklustre Natal XI that failed to compete much to the disappointment of a capacity crowd at the Chatsworth Oval.

After skipper Jonty Rhodes had decided to bat first on a benign pitch that had enough early moisture from overnight showers to delay the start by 50 minutes, the Natal XI were bundled out for just 120.

The selection of these ``development'' Natal teams is going to require more thought in future with none of the players of colour drafted into the team showing the ability to play against top-class opposition.

The only entertainment provided by the home side for the crowd of nearly 10000 came from Andrew Hudson, who made batting look easy on a slow and low pitch. The elegant former international opener stroked his way to a classy 38 off 50 balls, with five sweetly-struck boundaries, before being run out by young batting partner Bongani Zibane when his call for a bye was ignored.

Apart from Hudson's cameo effort and dogged resistance from bowlers Robbie MacQueen (23) and Desigan Reddy (18), it was an ignominous batting effort by Natal.

The tourists' new-ball bowlers, Nixon McLean (three for 25) and Franklyn Rose (three for 21), ripped away the top-order and the contest was effectively over after just 12 overs, with Natal 39 for five.

Having been dismissed in just 39.4 overs, Natal had to bowl nine overs to the West Indians before lunch, which was taken with the tourists on 23 without loss. Any hopes of somehow turning 120 into a winning score were quickly dispelled after the break as Clayton Lambert went on the rampage against a moderate attack.

By the 14th over the West Indies 50 was up, Lambert lofting off-spinner MacQueen for two big sixes over long-off. The opener with the bizarre stance then went to his own half-century with a sensational assault on Reddy. The 19-year-old medium-pacer, the darling of the Chatsworth crowd, went over on his ankle after his second delivery and, after treatment, watched in disbelief as Lambert struck the remaining balls of his first over for three fours and a six.

Although Reddy came back well to dismiss both Lambert (58) and Darren Ganga (3), opener Junior Murray, who has hardly played since arriving on tour, guided the West Indies home with 46 not out.

While the West Indies will be relieved to get their first win under their belts, the match did little for the Natal team in terms of uncovering new talent. Probably the biggest plus of the day was the tremendous response of the Chatsworth community in supporting the game.

The West Indians won't be the last touring team to play at the picturesque Chatsworth Oval, with Ali Bacher announcing during the match that he will recommend to his United Cricket Board of South Africa executive that one-day internationals and possibly even World Cup 2003 fixtures are played at the venue in future.

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