About the Match
West Indies defeated Sri Lanka by 7 wickets to register a massive win and reach the top of the table in Group 1 with 4 points from 2 matches; they will take on South Africa, who are placed third currently with 2 points, on 25th March at Nagpur. While the Proteas suffered loss against England, they defeated Afghanistan by 37 runs after defending a huge total of 209; they will now try to overcome the high-flying Windies, who have dominated the opponents will now in both outings. It needs to be seen which team can hold its nerves together to emerge victorious in this crucial game on Friday.
Batting first against Afghanistan, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis set the foundation by posting 40+ runs each; AB de Villiers then scored a splendid 64 off 29 deliveries to take the scoreboard to 209 runs. The bowlers then took charge as Morris registered figures of 4-27, combining well with Tahir, Abbott and Rabada, who took 2 wickets each to demolish the opposition.
Against England however, they failed to defend a score of 229 runs after the bowlers gave away too many easy runs and had no answer for Joe Root, who steered the team to victory. The brilliant knocks by Amla, Quinton and JP Duminy, all scoring well-made half centuries, went in vain as they lost the match by just 2 wickets.
The seamers are effective in their wicket-taking abilities but must put up more disciplined attack here against the Windies, who can punish loose balls; Imran Tahir is the lone specialist spinner but if they can gel well, the Proteas can surely put up a stiff challenge to Gayle and company.
They have been excellent on the field and delivered with bat and ball to win both the matches till now; however, against South Africa, they need to adopt a cautious approach and try to focus on building partnerships if batting first. In the game against Sri Lanka, Fletcher opened the innings in the absence of Gayle and put up a superb unbeaten 84 off 64; Charles, Samuels and Ramdin failed to keep the scoreboard ticking but Russell supported Fletcher with a quick fire 20 off just 8 balls to achieve the target of 127 with 10 balls to spare.
Earlier, Badree took a superb 3-12 while Bravo, Brathwaite and Russell provided regular breakthroughs to restrict the Lankans to 126; Benn was stupendous as he stifled the opposition with an economy rate of less than 4 per over. Their bowling attack has improved and they are able to take wickets consistently.
The fact that players like Andre Fletcher and Russell can also up their ante when situation arises, is a good sign for the team that till quite recently came under a lot of criticism for their dismal performances. With batsmen like Chris Gayle, who scored a fiery 100 off just 48 deliveries against England to chase down 183 runs successfully and win the match, West Indies definitely can be a formidable force to reckon with.
While South Africa has a deep batting line-up and in-form players, West Indies has a boosted morale with their recent victories; the contest could go down to the wire but we feel South Africa will keep a cool head to execute the game plan to perfection and win this crucial game.