About the Match
Australia has already booked its berth in the finals of the tri-series here at the Caribbean and now the hosts, West Indies will have to fight it out with South Africa to be in the running, when they meet each other on 24th June at Bridgetown. South Africa was leading the pack till recently and has 12 points on the table; they need to just win or tie this match in order to become the second finalists. On the other hand, the Windies, who have only 8 points so far, will have to win this match with bonus points as they have a lower NRR compared to the Proteas. With temperatures rising and the home crowds rooting for their team, the upcoming contest will surely see a lot of nervous moments.
Marlon Samuels’ outstanding 125 off 134 deliveries went in vain as the bowlers failed to defend the 282 runs against a motivated Aussie batting unit; the openers fell cheaply with just 29 runs on board and then it was Samuels who kept the scoreboard ticking along with Denesh Ramdin, who impressed with a well-made 91 off 92. Players like Fletcher, Charles, Pollard, Bravo and Brathwaite couldn’t overcome the tactics of the Aussie pace. The bowlers tried their best to stifle the visitors but the 3 dismissals by Gabriel, Brathwaite and Benn were not enough to win the match.
When they met South Africa last time, the bowlers were not effective, allowing partnerships to be built; Sunil Narine spun his magic but couldn’t take any wickets while Pollard’s 2-64 was not enough to stop the opposition from scoring a gigantic 343 runs. Charles and Fletcher started the chase positively but after their dismissals, the middle-order couldn’t impress much. The entire batting outfit was all-out by 38 overs for just 204 runs in reply, exposing the gaps in their team.
Narine’s special 6-27 had wiped out the South African batting line-up in the opening match of the series and he will have to come up with yet another inspired performance here; Pollard, Ramdin, Brathwaite and Bravo must pull up their socks in order to help the team post good totals.
They haven’t seen action for a week now as the last game against Australia was washed out; but they will be a motivated lot as they have defeated the hosts recently in an emphatic way after the batsmen posted a superior score of 343 runs batting first. Hashim Amla scripted a heroic 110 off 99 while Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis and Chris Morris kept the runs coming.
Spin specialist Imran Tahir registered a superb 7-45 in 9 overs to deny the Windies any chance of recovery; along with chinaman Shamsi’s 2-41 and Morris’ disciplined spell, they could easily win the match by 139 runs. The batting line-up looks determined and the amount of experience they have, clearly gives them the advantage to challenge the Windies bowling squad.
While Tahir, Phangiso and Shamsi provide a strong spin attack, speedsters Rabada, Abbott and Parnell can provide breakthroughs quickly; they will definitely put up a fight to reach the finals.
South Africa has done well against West Indies but they will be wary of the maverick hosts here; while the contest could go down to the wire, we feel the Proteas have the right balance in batting and bowling to keep their hopes alive with a win on Friday