England Chris Woakes West Indies Dwayne Smith
Chris Woakes was the star for England in their big win over the West IndiesReuters

South Africa got a little taste of what might be in the coming World Cup games, with their warm-up encounter against Sri Lanka going right down to the death, thanks largely to that pesky little thing nobody likes to see during a cricket match – rain.

Some terrific death bowling from Kyle Abbott had seen South Africa keep Sri Lanka to 279/7 in 44.4 overs. Tillakaratne Dilshan played a brilliant knock of 100 from just 83 balls, and the Lankans looked on course for a huge score, before Abbot picked up his wicket and halted the proceedings a touch.

The South Africa fast bowler also went on to dismiss Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera before rain brought a premature end to Sri Lanka's innings.

South Africa came started the chase like a house on fire via their opening duo of Hashim Amla and Quinton De Kock, before rain, again, and a flurry of wickets made things interesting again.

The Proteas eventually got home with three balls to spare, after the match had been reduced to 25 overs with the target reading 188.

"We came into the warm-up games with a fairly open mind to get guys out in the middle but as soon as the game got to a tight stage, it was amazing how you could feel the change room shift," said Abbott of a warm-up game suddenly turning into a pressure match.

"We were counting down every run. It was so good to get some competitive cricket out of a warm-up game which can drift and become quite boring. The guys were behind every run and we wanted to win it as much as any other game."

South Africa will take heart from dealing with the pressure well in such rain-curtailed situations and also Abbott's death bowling.

"I like that situation," added Abbott. "I play with fire a bit. I put myself out there to take on those overs and sometimes it doesn't go right, but the work that I put in off the field -- I work on averages and stats -- it falls in my favour.

"I put myself under pressure there, wanting those overs, but I enjoy it. I've got my head around that I am going to concede runs, but when it comes off you look like a hero. So I'm waiting for those moments."

In the other two warm-up games, England crushed West Indies by nine wickets. The bowlers bowled West Indies out on a lively Sydney pitch for just 122, with Chris Woakes taking a five-for, before the batsmen easily knocked out the runs to complete a simple win.

New Zealand could not get a full warm-up match out against Zimbabwe, after their game was washed out with the hosts struggling on 157/7 in 30.1 overs, and that too only thanks to Martin Guptill's brilliant 100.

In the final match, Bangladesh posted a score of 246 all out in 49.5 overs, thanks to 80s from Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah, with Pakistan struggling just a touch to chase down the target after losing early wickets.

However, a nice unbeaten 93 from Sohaib Maqsood helped Pakistan get over the line with three wickets and 11 balls to spare.

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