South Africa haven’t lost 3 games in a row in any world cup before. They have had a horror start to their campaign this time and nothing has gone right for them. They have been hit with injuries to main bowlers and their batting has struggled to find any consistency in the tournament so far. Except for captain Faf di Plessis and Quinton de Kock, none of the other batters have shown any sort of form so far in the tournament. The bowling also has struggled except for the game against India, they have struggled to keep runs in check.
Having lost the first 3 games it makes this game against West Indies a must win. It is certain that Beuran Hendricks who was called in as replacement for Dale Steyn will play in the place of Tabraiz Shamsi against West Indies unless Lungi Ngidi is fit again. The batting is a concern but not sure if South Africa have much room to tamper with the same at the moment. They might just stick to the same batting considering West Indies does not have good spinners to trouble them.
West Indies though had a great start to the tournament and a great first 10 overs against the Aussies in the second. Even though the game against Australia was close, West Indies batting did fall apart under pressure. The bowling though seemed one dimensional and seemed like they just came with a single plan and did not have a plan B. They would like to correct that. They would probably stick with the same XI but it will be interesting to see if they would get in someone like Shannon Gabriel or Kemar Roach. Their batting though has been doing well as Chris Gayle has been in great form and so has been Shai Hope. They have a long batting line up and some good all rounders.
Head to Head:
Historically South Africa have dominated a declining West Indies team over the years and it has been the same in the World Cup as well as the former has a 4-2 record against the latter.
Chris Gayle (West Indies): Gayle is the most experienced West Indies batter and the one in stupendous form in this competition. South Africa will try to attack the openers with pace and spin and Chris Gayle will be crucial in helping West Indies get to a good start. Gayle has more than 10000 ODI runs and one of the top batters in this format.
Oshane Thomas (West Indies): Oshane Thomas is a young bowlers with little experience at this level. The one thing Thomas has is extreme pace and heart. In the few games he has played he has troubled the opposition with some quick bowling and has been a tough bowler to handle on hard pitches. West Indies will continue with their bouncer strategy with the new ball and Thomas with be a huge part of that strategy.
Imran Tahir (South Africa): Tahir is South Africa’s senior most bowler in the squad in the absence of Dale Steyn. He has so far has a mixed tournament and would like to make an impact in this all important clash. The one thing the West Indies batters are suspect against is good spin bowling and Tahir is one of the best in the white ball cricket. Tahir has 166 wickets in this format at a very good average of 24.69. He will be hoping to put breaks on the West Indies batting in the middle overs and at the top.
Quinton de Kock (South Africa): In a struggling batting line up batting de Kock has been the lone shining light in this tournament for South Africa. He has looked in good form throughout but again like all the others in the South African line up he hasn’t kicked on to make a big score. In this crucial contest he along with Hashim Amla will be hoping to give their team a good start at the top so that the rest can play with more freedom later in the innings.
What they said?
“I don’t think you should have to beg a guy to play for his country, but I did make it clear (when he called informing me about his decision to retire) that I thought he was making a bad decision, that he could help us win the World Cup.” Said South African coach Ottis Gibson on AB De Villiers controversy.
“You can’t keep looking back. If you keep looking back, you have major problems,” assistant coach Roddy Estwick asserted ahead of the South Africa clash. “We have to respect the past, you know. Our great bowlers of the past obviously they are very important in our history. But what we’ve got now, this group of bowlers, they have got to find their own identity. They have got to find their own way. They can speak to all the great ex-fast bowlers. I saw a few of them talking to Ian Bishop earlier. And I’m sure when Joel Garner and Michael Holding are in town they will be speaking to them. But we have now got to look forward.”
South Africa XI:
Quinton de Kock (wkt), Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis (capt), Rassie van der Dussen, Jean-Paul Duminy, David Miller, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Beuran Hendricks
West Indies XI:
Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope (wkt), Darren Bravo/Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder (capt), Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Oshane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell.
Both teams need a win here, South Africa more than West Indies at this stage of the competition. Faf du Plessis is under a huge pressure to turn this around for South Africa and things don’t look easy for his team at the moment. For West Indies though, they need to do what they have been doing so far in the competition. They have troubled top teams and they will continue to do so with their bowling and batting. This will be a good contest and South Africa even though down at the moment have a slight edge to take this out.