South Africa received an injury scare as pace bowler Lonwabo Tsotsobe strained his right knee during the team’s eight-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in Saturday’s warm-up match of the cricket World Cup.
Tsotsobe sent down a couple of overs without success before falling awkwardly while trying to stop a boundary and was writhing in pain barely a week before the tournament gets underway.
Surrounded by worried team mates, the pacer received medical attention before eventually hobbling off the ground.
“That area of the outfield was wet and he flexed his knee and suffered a mild strain,” team manager Mohammed Moosajee told reporters.
“He was assessed by the physiotherapist today and will be assessed again tomorrow morning and we’ll take a call from there.”
South Africa kick off their Group B campaign against the West Indies in Delhi on February 24.
Graeme Smith and his men, however, can draw some positives from the match as they embark on putting World Cup heartbreaks, including semifinal exits in 1992, 1999 and 2007 and a shock quarter-final loss to the West Indies in 1996, behind them.
After Zimbabwe had decided to bat first, Smith employed as many as eight bowlers, including his three frontline spinners who shared six wickets among themselves.
Imran Tahir, the uncapped Pakistan-born leg-spinner with streaked hair, claimed three for 35 in 8.5 overs, removing Prosper Utseya and Shingirai Masakadza off successive deliveries to hasten Zimbabwe’s collapse for 152 in the 42nd over.
Left-arm spinner Robin Petersen scalped two while off-spinner Johan Botha got one. Pacer Morne Morkel was the pick of the South African bowlers, claiming three for 16 in his six tidy overs.
AB de Villiers took three catches behind the stumps to signal he is ready for his first wicketkeeping assignment for South Africa in a big event.
Batting mainstay Jacques Kallis, who the team had decided not to rush to action so that he can recover fully from a side strain, also spent quality time in the middle, hitting three sixes in his unbeaten 49-run knock.
Hashim Amla (45) and Smith (41) got some batting practice too as South Africa chased down the target with 26.3 overs to spare.
However, Smith expressed his concerns over the track at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium, host of three World Cup matches.
After his team crushed Zimbabwe by eight wickets in a warm-up game at the venue with the spinners claiming six victims, Smith said he expected better wickets for the February 19-April 2 World Cup.
“I don’t think it was a great wicket, it probably suited them,” Smith said of the performance of his three frontline spinners - Imran Tahir (3-35), Robin Petersen (2-21) and Johan Botha (1-18).
“The wicket probably helped them a little bit being, I think, maybe a bit under-prepared but they bowled well.”
The South African skipper also expressed concern over the placidness of the track and the dew factor for day-night games.
But he added: “I expect the wicket to be better prepared for the World Cup games. (It’s) still early days, I think coming into those games the wicket will get a lot more attention.”
Chennai hosts Kenya v New Zealand on February 20, England v West Indies on March 17 and India v West Indies on March 20.
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