Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - West Indies, South Africa hope to sing a redemption song. West Indies are in need of greater batting re-calibration.
West Indies are in need of greater batting re-calibration.
Few would have expected batters to dominate in the T20 WC, given the pitches in the UAE and Oman. But even fewer would have expected South Africa and West Indies to be utterly dominated at the crease in their opening matches. So the two line-ups will hope to sing a redemption song when they clash in Dubai on Tuesday.
Australia's attack bristled with quality on Saturday, but not enough to justify limiting South Africa to 118/9. Similarly, while England's bowlers pack a sizeable collective punch, they wouldn't have expected to dismiss the West Indians for 55 in 14.2 overs. Batting conditions weren't straightforward, as evidenced by Australia needing all but two deliveries of their 20 overs to reach the target.
But Bangladesh's 171/4 in Sharjah on Sunday looked good until Sri Lanka replied with 172/5, and no-one would have predicted Pakistan's 10-wicket triumph in Dubai on Sunday immediately after India had posted 151/7.
So while the sluggish surfaces are clearly challenging batters, and will continue to be so throughout the tournament, the only option is for them to meet that challenge. Or at least to do so better than South Africa and West Indies managed on Saturday. Wheeled out, unfairly, on Monday to explain all that, Kagiso Rabada had a hearty laugh when it was pointed out to him that his team's batters had at least performed better than the Windies': South Africa's total was more than double that of their next opponents'. Rabada deserved a chuckle – his 19 not out batting at No. 9 was his team's second-highest score.
That West Indies' major suffering against England was inflicted by spin will no doubt inform South Africa's approach. In a combined 6.2 overs, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid took 6/19 – usually when their victims were looking to attack recklessly. It would not be stretching a point to posit that Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj are easily as good, if not better, than the English slow poisoners.
Unpacking the South Africans' fragility at the crease is more complex. They shambled into the sunset thanks to a strange mix of freakishness – Quinton de Kock was bowled by a delivery that bounced high above him after he had edged it into the ground – fine bowling – Josh Hazlewood's away-swinger that had Rassie van der Dussen caught behind was a thing of beauty – comedy – Keshav Maharaj fell over and was run out as a consequence of neglecting to wear full spikes – and questionable strokes – Heinrich Klaasen closed the face of his bat and blooped a leading edge to backward point. Consequently, the Windies would be forgiven for thinking the South Africans could help them get the job done.
South Africa's bowlers will be confident of building on Saturday's performance, which was well supported by their fielders. While the West Indian bowlers and fielders didn't have a fair chance to measure themselves having been given so few runs to defend, they would have taken heart from removing four of England's top five inside seven overs and with only 39 runs scored.
All involved in Tuesday's game will know Bob Marley's stirring 1980 anthem for justice and freedom, “Redemption Song”, and they could do worse than take to heart its central message: “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.” Batting is a mind game at the best of times, even more so on pitches that ask tough questions. Finding the answers won't be easy, but there's more than enough talent, skill, experience and belief in both teams to pass the impending examination.
When: South Africa vs West Indies, Super 12 Group 1, 14:00 Local, 12:00 SAST
Where: Dubai International Stadium
What to expect: What do you say about conditions when you're dealing with teams who succumbed to the lowest totals of the first four matches of the second round? Maybe that they can only improve, or at least get closer to the 150 which would seem to be the par score in this tournament.
T20I Head to Head: South Africa 9-6 West Indies (2-1 in T20 WC games)
Injury/Availability Concerns: None of consequence. Given the amount of strapping on his hand on Saturday, Temba Bavuma looked like he was heading into the boxing ring. But the thumb he broke in Sri Lanka in September seems to have mended well. The tight groin that took Tabraiz Shamsi out of the warm-up game against Pakistan last Wednesday wasn't a factor on Saturday, when he bowled all four of his overs.
Tactics & Matchups: Quinton de Kock's aggregate of 255 in the five-match series between the teams in Grenada in June and July was easily the highest: no-one else reached 180. But, having reeled off three half-centuries – two of them unbeaten – in four innings for South Africa and Mumbai Indians in September, he has since failed to reach 30 in his last six T20 innings. His team need him to come good on Tuesday. Thing is, he averages 14.25 facing Dwayne Bravo and 28.20 against Andre Russell in this format.
Probable XI:Temba Bavuma (c), Quinton de Kock (wk), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Reeza Hendricks, David Miller, Wiaan Mulder, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi
Injury/Availability Concerns: Happily, fitness issues are not among the Windies' problems. But they are no doubt still trying to cover the bases left uncovered by Fabian Allen's withdrawal with an ankle injury last Wednesday. That said, Akeal Hosein proved himself a capable replacement on Saturday.
Tactics & Matchups:That Chris Gayle is capable of wreaking havoc is hardly a secret. It's also clear that, at 42, he is in decline: he has scored only one half-century in his last 27 T20I innings, and it's been more than five years since he made the second of his two centuries at this level. But the good news, for the West Indians, is that he is unusually effective against South Africa than any other opponents – his strike rate of 177.94 in T20Is against them is higher than when he is facing any other country's bowlers.
Probable XI: Lendl Simmons, Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle, Roston Chase, Dwayne Bravo, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Kieron Pollard (c), Andre Russell, Akeal Hosein, Obed McCoy, Ravi Rampaul
Did you know?
– Reeza Hendricks needs seven more runs to become the seventh South Africa player to reach 1,000 runs in T20Is.
– Roston Chase's claims for selection are only strengthened by the fact that he had a batting strike rate of 144.33 and a bowling economy rate of 6.92 in this year's CPL.
What they said:
“We need to rock up with proper intensity and play close to our best. That's what we're here to do. We're here to win the World Cup, otherwise why would we be here?” – Kagiso Rabada
“Chris [Gayle] has been a wonderful servant for West Indies cricket. We still expect great things from him, but he also does a lot in terms of addressing the room and helping the younger players. Sometimes we tend to just look at performances, and we tend to think that the numbers don't match up.” – Roddy Estwick