Preview by Kaushik Rangarajan
This is the stage of a global tournament that South Africa usually ace, stomping around and crushing lower-ranked opponents without mercy. But Faf du Plessis’s men have lurched from one crisis to another since the curtain rose on this World Cup. Adding to their growing list of injury and form concerns is the chatter around AB de Villiers’s latest 360-degree act.
On the face of it at least, the team management is not wallowing in self pity: “We can talk about AB all we want but he’s not here and he cannot help us,” head coach Ottis Gibson said. They see two clear paths here on. Either they can self destruct their way to an embarrassing finish or rally around each other, putting all their energies in the same direction and… hope. That South Africa, not too long ago the No.1 ODI side, have seen their expectations sink so low speaks volumes for their current plight.
On the other side, despite their narrow defeat to Australia, West Indies enter this contest as slight favourites following two zestful performances. Sheldon Cotrell and Oshane Thomas bowl a mean bouncer, the batsmen swing for the fences and the fielders are prone to moments of genius – amidst the occasional lapse – on the field. Where Jason Holder has imbued a sparkling identity to his ODI side, du Plessis’s South Africa remain a team constantly trying to disguise their deficiencies as well they can.
Much water has flown under the bridge since these two sides last met three years ago in a tri-series. West Indies went through a qualifier, patched differences (at least temporarily) between the board and players and now pose a serious threat in the World Cup. They, who have so often fallen to the de Villiers sword in these contests, are now looking to feed on their tormentor-induced unrest in the opposition camp. They are more assured of their batting depth and balance, and even talk of scoring 500 in an ODI. South Africa, three matches and a few players down, are the ones in search of redemption.
When: South Africa vs West Indies, CWC19, June 10, 10:30 Local, 15:00 IST
Where:The Ageas Bowl, Southampton
What to expect: Rain is forecast around match start time, but nothing severe to affect the game in a big way. The wicket at Southampton got a nice trim on the eve of the game, resembling the one used for 373 vs 361 game between England and Pakistan last month. Following Yuzvendra Chahal’s exploits in the earlier game, spin too should play a part.
Lungi Ngidi is unlikely to be risked for this game, leaving South Africa to make a decision between playing both spinners again or drafting in left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks. Aiden Markram is another option with the bat, capable of replacing either the under-fire Hashim Amla or one of JP Dumny. Dropping Duminy is tricky because it would not only leave the team with only five bowlers, but also take away an off-spinner threat against the four left-handers in West Indies’ top-five.
Probable XI: Hashim Amla/Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock (wk), Faf du Plessis (c), Rassie van der Dussen, JP Duminy, David Miller, Chris Morris, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi/Beuran Hendricks, Imran Tahir
Andre Russell was absent at the Ageas Bowl on pre-match day after hobbling through his overs against Australia but assistant coach Roddy Estwick confirmed that the “warrior” was only being managed for his persistent knee trouble and should be available for the game. West Indies are unlikely to ring in any changes for this game.
Probable XI: Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope (wk), Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder (c), Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Sheldon Cotrell, Oshane Thomas
Did you know?
– This is the first time South Africa have lost three successive games in a single edition of the World Cup. They last lost four consecutive ODIs in August 2008.
– West Indies have the best Powerplay bowling parameters this WC – average (13.29) and strike rate (17.1).
– AB de Villiers scored a hundred in each of the last three World Cup games against West Indies. He’s not going to be there tomorrow, but it’s worth putting it out.
What they said:
“Well before the start of the tournament they were saying that teams are going to make 360, 380, 400, even 500. We’ve bowled teams out for under 300 runs. We’re very happy with how the bowlers have executed. What we must do is play the one percenters a bit better.” – West Indies assistant coach Roddy Estwick is happy with how his bowling unit is shaping up.
“We’re very hopeful. We have played the two best teams in the World. Bangladesh, we felt that we might have been a bit complacent, we talked about it. England, we felt we could have won that game. India, we took it right to the end. That’s in our DNA, if you look at how we play, we never give away. We just need a few things to click” – Kagiso Rabada sees the light amidst the supposed gloom.
West Indies (From): Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope(w), Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder(c), Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Ashley Nurse, Sheldon Cottrell, Oshane Thomas, Darren Bravo, Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach, Fabian Allen
South Africa (From): Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock(w), Faf du Plessis(c), Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Jean-Paul Duminy, Andile Phehlukwayo, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Imran Tahir, Tabraiz Shamsi, Beuran Hendricks, Dwaine Pretorius, Aiden Markram