Dubai – The empty blue seats staring back at the players inside the Dubai International Stadium provided the soulless backdrop here on Tuesday afternoon.
The atmosphere was that of a funeral, and after all the drama that had permeated behind closed doors which ultimately resulted in Quinton de Kock withdrawing from this crucial ICC T2O World Cup clash against the West Indies, it could well be remembered as the death of De Kock's international career.
Cricket South Africa issued a directive on Tuesday morning that the entire team needed to take a knee in a united and consistent stance against racism for the remainder of the T20 World Cup.
The timing of the CSA Board directive leaves a lot to be desired particularly as the Proteas have been grappling with issues surrounding BLM for the past 18 months.
De Kock allegedly resisted on the basis he was being dictated to and from thereon everything that transpired after captain Temba Bavuma stated officially that his regular opening partner was not in the line-up due to "personal reasons" became secondary.
South Africans are a resilient in nature though and when pushed against the wall, that is when they dig deep, roll up their sleeves, get dirty and finish the job.
And that’s exactly what the 11 knee-taking Proteas did here in the UAE.
Dwaine Pretorius, the all-rounder who ironically was one of the first white South African cricketers to take the knee and pledge his support for the Black Lives Matter Movement, produced a solid late shift with the ball to restrict the West Indies to 143/8 after Evin Lewis had provided the customary fire-cracker start with 56 off 36 balls.
But Pretorius' 3/17 ensured the batters had a total to chase that never forced them out of their comfort zones even after Bavuma suffered an early demise.
Reeza Hendricks, who had come in for De Kock, was in sublime touch during a breezy 39 off 30 balls, with one particular lofted cover drive proving that the game does indeed move on regardless.
It set the platform for Rassie van der Dussen to remain in cruise control without needing to press the accelerator.
Van der Dussen was allowed to play the anchor role due to Aiden Markram simply being on a different level at the moment to any other Proteas batter.
It was in this very coliseum that Markram lifted the ICC U-19 World Cup title along with Kagiso Rabada and Andile Phehlukwayo and he certainly showed that he enjoys life in the Emirates with a fluid half-century brought up in emphatic fashion with his fourth six of the innings.
De Kock's future participation here at the T20 World Cup may be cast in doubt, but its the team that are moving forward and can look ahead to their next match against Sri Lanka with confidence.
West Indies: 143/8 (Lewis 56, Pollard 26, Pretorius 3/17, Maharaj 2/27)
South Africa: 144/2 (Markram 51*, Van der Dussen 43*, Hosein 1/27)
South Africa won by 8 wickets