Not long ago, South Africa was having a good time – enjoying themselves, relaxing, hiking-all as part of team building exercises before the World Cup. The South African set-up oozed with confidence, potential and ability back then.
However, the reality of the Proteas’ World Cup so far has been rather drastically different. Not only are they yet to get off the mark in the points table, but they have also lost Dale Steyn for the entire tournament as well as Lungi Ngidi at least for a few games, and out of nowhere, AB de Villiers’ controversy has popped up in the middle of a World Cup.
Amidst all this, South Africa “must” aim at winning all of their remaining matches. For a team that has been tagged “chokers” because of their inability to deal with pressure situations, a “must” win will be quite a task for them amidst the dressing room atmosphere full of chaos and negativity.
Meanwhile, the West Indies are taking it easy. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that they played better cricket than the Aussies in the previous match but failed to hang on to the crucial moments of the match and were immature in their batting approach. But then, that’s the style of cricket they have played in the recent past and at times have been successful with it too.
Moreover, West Indies have two things which South Africa lack – points on the table as well as confidence – points coming against the game in Pakistan in which their bowling bundled out the opposition for just 105 runs and confidence which they would have gained from both their matches in the World Cup so far.
West Indies are perhaps the most relaxed, chilled out and fun-loving team in the tournament. While South Africa are far from that at the moment, they will desperately need some points under their belt to be feeling positive about their World Cup campaign.
A hint of brilliance from any of their players may spark the much-needed motivation and lift the morale of the side to get together as a unit and fight strong in a tough World Cup campaign ahead of them. It is indeed their batting which has let them down. Here is a stat to back up that statement – it is Kagiso Rabada who is topping the tournament batting average list for South Africa who is by no means a recognised batsman.
JP Duminy and David Miller will have to put on a better show than their previous few outings. While Duminy hasn’t got a good game yet, Miller gets a good start and then throws it away – both of them playing important roles in South Africa’s World Cup journey.
West Indies haven’t had a good opening partnership yet and would like to address that issue along with a better fielding effort from the team.
South Africa’s problems have worsened because the opposition batsmen have seemed to figure out Imran Tahir’s style of spin. Tahir’s success is also central to South Africa’s plans as he is one of their main weapons. Against West Indies, however, Tahir has been in phenomenal form and Faf du Plessis will hope that his fantastic numbers against the West Indies translate into some wickets against his name in the match.
Chris Gayle will be the man to watch out for when West Indies come out to bat because if he gets going, things will almost automatically fall in place for them.
It’s going to be another feast for cricket lovers when both the teams meet at the Rose Bowl Cricket Ground. The match is scheduled to begin from 3:00 pm (IST) onwards.
West Indies: Jason Holder (C), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Nicholas Pooran, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Shai Hope (wk), Ashley Nurse, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas
South Africa: Faf du Plessis (C), Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, JP Duminy, Dwaine Pretorius, Beuran Hendricks, Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi