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De Kock withdraws, Proteas beat Windies

A question mark remains over Quinton de Kock’s further participation at the Twenty20 World Cup after his decision to skip South Africa’s eight wicket win over the West Indies in defiance of a team order to take the knee.

The Proteas got their World Cup campaign back on track with the convincing victory at Dubai on Tuesday but de Kock was the major talking point after the former skipper’s no show.

Captain Temba Bavuma revealed at the toss that ‘keeper-batsman de Kock had withdrawn from the game due to “personal reasons” just hours after Cricket South Africa (CSA) had ordered the team to take the knee before their remaining matches in support of Black Lives Matter.

South Africa recovered to restrict the Windies to 8-143 before cruising to 2-144 with 10 balls to spare with Aiden Markram not out 51 off 26 balls and Rassie van der Dussen unbeaten on 43.

But de Kock’s decision may yet still prove a distraction with the player facing potential sanctions.

“The …(CSA) has noted the personal decision by South African wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock not to ‘take the knee’ ahead of Tuesday’s game against the West Indies,” CSA said in a statement.

“The board will await a further report from team management before deciding on the next steps.”

Asked if the team would seek a replacement for de Kock, Bavuma said: “I don’t know how far it’s going to develop.

“It wouldn’t be my decision whether to replace Quinton or to get a substitute.

“But as far as we stand, Quinton is still one of the players…so whatever support that he needs…we’ll be there for him.”

De Kock had declined to take a knee in the past calling it “my own personal opinion”.

“As a team, we obviously were surprised and taken aback by the news,” Bavuma said of de Kock’s withdrawal on Tuesday.

“Quinton is a big player for the team… not having that at my disposal as a captain was obviously something I wasn’t looking forward to.

“In saying that, Quinton is an adult. We respect his decision.”

CSA said it decided to force players to take the knee after concerns were raised over the “different postures” taken ahead of warm-up matches and the team’s opening five wicket World Cup loss to Australia on Saturday.

Some members of South Africa’s team had taken the knee with their fists raised, others stood with fists raised while de Kock, Anrich Nortje and Heinrich Klaasen stood with their hands by their side before recent matches.

“The board felt it was imperative for the team to be seen taking a united and consistent stand against racism, especially given (South Africa’s) history,” CSA said.

Despite the de Kock drama, Dwaine Pretorious (3-17) helped South Africa restrict the two-time champions with Evin Lewis top scoring for the Windies with 56 off 35 balls – one more than the team’s paltry total in their opening loss to England at the same venue.

In reply, de Kock’s replacement Reeza Hendricks hit 39 before Markram and van der Dussen guided South Africa to victory with an unbroken 83-run stand.

The Windies’ title defence appears in trouble after their second straight loss.

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