SOUTHAMPTON   -   South Africa’s already slim World Cup hopes were left hanging by a thread after their clash with the West Indies at the Ageas Bowl was washed out.

Having lost their first three games – to England, Bangladesh and India – South Africa were in must-win mode, with six wins from nine group stage fixtures generally accepted as the likely bar for guaranteeing a top-four finish and qualification for the semi-finals. But washout means South Africa remain without a win at the World Cup after going through four matches of the group stage.

Only 7.3 overs were managed on a miserable day in Southampton, and with no reserve days during the group stage, the match was eventually abandoned, and the points shared.

South Africa remain second bottom of the table and West Indies climb two places to fifth. The top four sides will qualify for the semi-finals.

It is too early in the round-robin phase to mathematically rule South Africa out, particularly with the prospect of more washed-out games to come, but even if the Proteas can win all five of their remaining games, they will be left relying on results elsewhere going their way.

South African captain Faf du Plessis was highly frustrated with the washout terming the outcome as the worst.

“Both teams wanted to play and get results but you can’t control the weather. For us it was important on a day like this to start not losing may wickets. It’s like Test cricket. But they did well to get two wickets. [Shortage] favours the team that bats second. But even saying that if you get 30-35 overs, on a big ground you can defend. Lungi will be ready for the next match. We didn’t play our best cricket so far. We’ve got to beat Afghanistan,” he said.

Had the full game played out, things may have got even worse for the South Africans.

By the time play was abandoned in the eighth over they had already lost opener Hashim Amla and batsman Aiden Markram to the bowling of Sheldon Cottrell, left wobbling on 29/2.

In very overcast conditions, West Indies won the toss and Jason Holder promptly decided to field first and handed over the new ball to Sheldon Cottrell. Cottrell had Amla taken at slip for six and Markram caught down the leg side for five in claiming figures of 2-18. The West Indies almost had a third wicket too but Quinton de Kock survived a big appeal on Kemar Roach’s first delivery as DRS was called into play.

But three deliveries into Oshane Thomas’ first over, rain forced the players off the field before umpires called off the game.

There was brief hope just after lunch that at least the minimum 20-over-a-side game might be able to take place, but every time the covers were removed, the rain returned, and the umpires eventually decided to call it a day shortly after 4pm BST.

Wes Indies captain Jason Holder was pleased with another good start given by the bowlers. “It’s unfortunate the weather came. So far we’ve been getting new ball wickets. It’s just a matter for our bowlers to hit the straps and continue doing what we’re doing.

We don’t mind giving away runs. We’re hoping Russell pulls up before the next game. [Three in three] would have probably been happy with that at the start of the tournament,” he added.

It is the second match to be abandoned because of rain, following the wash-out between Pakistan and Sri Lanka on Friday.

Rain is also forecast on Tuesday at Bristol, where Bangladesh meet Sri Lanka, and on Wednesday at Taunton, where Australia play Pakistan.

West Indies face England at Southampton on Friday, while South Africa take on Afghanistan at Cardiff on Saturday.

POINTS TABLE

Pos Team Played Won Lost N/R Net RR Points

1 NEW ZEALAND 3 3 0 0 +2.163 6

2 ENGLAND 3 2 1 0 +1.307 4

3 INDIA 2 2 0 0 +0.539 4

4 AUSTRALIA 3 2 1 0 +0.483 4

5 WEST INDIES 3 1 1 1 +2.054 3

6 SRI LANKA 3 1 1 1 -1.517 3

7 PAKISTAN 3 1 1 1 -2.412 3

8 BANGLADESH 3 1 2 0 -0.714 2

9 SOUTH AFRICA 4 0 3 1 -0.952 1

10 AFGHANISTAN 3 0 3 0 -1.493 0

Scorecard

SOUTH AFRICA:

Q de Kock not out 17

H Amla c Gayle b Cottrell 6

A Markram c Hope b Cottrell 5

F du Plessis not out 0

EXTRAS: (w1) 1

TOTAL: (2 wkts; 7.3 overs) 29

FOW: 1-11, 2-28

BOWLING: S Cottrell 4-1-18-2, K Roach 3-0-10-0, O Thomas 0.3-0-1-0

TOSS: West Indies

UMPIRES: Paul Wilson, Rod Tucker

TV UMPIRE: Sundaram Ravi

MATCH REFEREE: David Boon