South Africa overpowered defending champions West Indies by eight wickets at the T20 World Cup on Tuesday, but the match in Dubai was overshadowed by Proteas batsman Quinton de Kock's decision to withdraw from the game.
Aiden Markram hit 51 in an unbeaten 83-run third-wicket stand with Rassie van der Dussen (43) as South Africa chased down 144 with 10 balls to spare in the Super 12 match.
But the match will be remembered for the controversy before the start. Cricket South Africa had ordered its players to take a knee in Dubai and lend their support to the anti-racism movement. However, De Kock pulled out of the game due to "personal reasons".
Temba Bavuma's team took the knee after their decision to field first. After the match, captain Bavuma said De Kock's decision had taken the team aback.
"When the news hit us it did kind of take us aback as a team. A guy like Quinnie ... he obviously has an integral role within the team, not just with the bat but as a senior player," Bavuma said.
"But with Klaasen coming in there was an opportunity for him, it was another game of cricket that we had to play for our country and we had to live up to that."
CSA had earlier said the board “unanimously agreed” to force players to take a knee after a meeting on Monday, adding it also considered “the position of the players” before making the decision.
Despite the controversy, South Africa bounced back from their opening defeat to Australia, while two-time champions West Indies lost their second match.
Opener Evin Lewis hit 56 as West Indies made 143-8, having made just 55 in a crushing defeat by England three days ago.
Fast bowler Dwaine Pretorius took three wickets as West Indies again failed to fire after a painful 16 off 35 balls from Lendl Simmons at the top of the order.
Skipper Kieron Pollard hit a 20-ball 26 before falling to Pretorius, who was on a hat-trick only for Dwayne Bravo to hit a boundary.
"After six overs he [Lewis] was there and we wanted to bat a couple more overs without losing wickets," Windies captain Pollard said.
"Having said that you are not going to get me here throwing my teammates under the bus. It was a disappointing total batting effort not getting 160 plus."