Buffalo Park

Views of Buffalo Park in East London. Photos: SA Tourism/Backpagepix

Buffalo Park set to host its first ODI in six years on Thursday

Buffalo Park will host 50-over international cricket for the first time since 2017 with the West Indies in town.

Buffalo Park

Views of Buffalo Park in East London. Photos: SA Tourism/Backpagepix

It has been nearly six years since the Proteas last played an ODI at East London’s Buffalo Park.

However, that drought is set to break this week.

The Proteas host the West Indies at the forgotten gem of South African cricket, Buffalo Park.

Buffalo Park is back

ALSO READ: Temba Bavuma laments dearth of Test cricket

It has been three years since the Proteas touched down in East London to play what turned out to be a thrilling T20I against England.

On that occasion, a 1-run win for the Proteas thrilled the crowd at Buffalo Park. It wasn’t the first great match to go down at the home of Border cricket.

ALSO READ: Faf du Plessis only coming back to win the World Cup

This time around, Buffalo Park will be treated to a pair of ODIs, the first on Thursday afternoon and the second on Saturday, 21 March.

The ground is small both in the size of the Oval and in its capacity, but considering East London proper is only home to just over 250,000, their stadium doesn’t need to rival the MCG.

ALSO READ: Proteas coach heaps praise on Gerald Coetzee

Buffalo Park has something that the MCG doesn’t have with its views of the ocean from grass embankments that lend a picturesque quality to matches played out in East London.

Despite being a smaller ground, the floodlights are excellent and will be in use for the pair of Day/Night matches.

ALSO READ: Kagiso Rabada wants Proteas to play more Tests

South Africa T20I Buffalo Park
Rassie van der Dussen of South Africa bats at Buffalo Park in East London. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

The pitch generally plays quite well and typically, you can expect the team batting first in a 50-over match to set out to cross the threshold of 300.

ALSO READ: Proteas star opens up about addiction

Treasured memories in East London

West Indies vs South Africa
Temba Bavuma of the Proteas. Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

Only two bowlers have taken a five-wicket haul in an ODI at Buffalo Park. It is not an exaggeration to describe them as legends of the game.

ALSO READ: Who has qualified for the Rugby World Cup 2023?

Shaun Pollock owns the best figures at Buffalo Park, taking 6/35, but tellingly those figures came as the West Indies scored 292, with Shivnarine Chanderpaul stroking a memorable 150.

The other five-wicket haul belongs to Pakistan icon Wasim Akram, who shredded South Africa during a triangular series that also involved the West Indies.

ALSO READ: Former Proteas skipper hints at retirement

Buffalo Park was also the site of a terrific ODI hat-trick. Pakistan pace legend Waqar Younis took the wickets with a series of incredible swinging yorkers during the Mandela Trophy quadrangular trophy.

Being quite an open ground, the wind can change the character of a match, and when it is howling, batting can be tricky.

ALSO READ: Parnell, Shamsi answer Proteas call

If you can’t get down to the ground, tune in from 13:00 on Thursday to watch the Proteas visit Buffalo Park.