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25 Oct 2021
There was a huge sense of anticipation and build-up for the game between West Indies and England as they were the finalists of the last edition of the tournament and having lost that game, England were extra motivated to defeat the Windies.
There were quite a bit of familiar scenes with the Windies batting lineup in the first over as their openers first struggled to rotate the strike and then one of them struck a big six to remind Nasser Hussain that the phase of play was a “classic” West Indies.
However, there was another familiar characteristic on display and sadly that sink the men in maroon on their first night of the tournament. They struggled to find glue in the batting order and found everyone playing glory shots and getting out in the process. Maybe, they needed not a classic West Indies batsman, but a classical batsman who could steady the ship from one end.
They made an inauspicious start to the tournament and are up against South Africa in their next game to keep themselves relevant in the tournament. Notably, both Windies and South Africa find themselves in what experts have deemed “group of death” with as many as four contenders of the title and having lost one game each, none of them could afford to lose this game with any sort of comfort.
While the Windies were annihilated by England, South Africa were brilliant in patches and ordinary against an Australian side who did just more enough to beat them in a close encounter.
Their batsmen struggled against the Test match lengths of Josh Hazlewood and innocuous off-spin of Glenn Maxwell while the pace attack became too predictable against the firepower of Marcus Stoinis.
Make no mistake, West Indies came into the tournament as one of the four favourites to lift the trophy while the Proteas entered the stage as an underdog. Considering the expectations and hoopla around them, it’s West Indies who have more at stake in the upcoming game while it’s a massive opportunity for the South Africans to make a mark in the tournament and change their course on the world stage.
South Africa vs West Indies
Match number: 18, Super 12 Group 1
Date & Time: Oct 26, 02:00 PM LOCAL, 03:30 PM IST, 10:00 AM GMT
Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai
Both the games of the Super 12 have been tough for the batsmen, except for Pakistan’s openers, but the role of dew can’t also be excluded.
As this game is to be played in day’s time, there will no respite in the form of dew and batsmen will have their tasks cut out against bowlers who are masters of changing the pace of the delivery.
All of Rashid Khan, Moeen Ali, Shadab Khan and Akeal Hosein have enjoyed purchase off the wicket at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium and both sides will banking their spinners to come on the top of the opposition.
One should not expect a high-scoring affair and hitting boundaries, especially gours will be a tough ask and it will be interesting to see the approach of the West Indies batting unit.
Contests within contest
Tabraiz Shamsi vs Chris Gayle
Tabraiz Shamsi is the highest-ranked T20I bowler in international cricket and Chris Gayle is the undisputed king of this format of the game. Gayle has been shunted to number three in the recent past and unless another collapse loads up for the defending champions, there is a high chance they will come up against each other.
Left-handers are believed to have an advantage over left-arm spinners but Shamsi is a wrist spinner who will turn the ball away from Gayle. That makes it an incredibly interesting proposition against a batsman who has enjoyed monumental success hitting the ball out of the park. The champion batsman will have to find a way against Shamsi else it could be early curtains for a left-hand dominant West Indies middle order.
How Shamsi goes in his four-over spell will go on to set the stage of South Africa’s good or bad state in the game.
Russell vs Rabada
There has been a history between Andre Russell and Kagiso Rabada in the Indian Premier League and most likely they will be up against each other once again in a crucial last few overs of the game.
Rabada has enjoyed quite a bit of success against the flamboyant right-hander but the pacer has not been at his best in recent times. Russell, too, got out for a two-ball duck against England will be itching to hit a few shots out of the ground in order to feel free after a long layoff with injury.
Rabada, along with Anrich Nortje, will take the responsibility of bowling the all-important end overs of the game and if they succeed in executing their plans which caters all sorts of challenges for a batsman such as searing yorker, rapid bouncer and disguised slower ball, the Proteas could well emerge o the top.
A slight error in execution and they will travel distance and so will be the aspirations of the Proteas away from the dreams of going far in the tournament.
South Africa may be tempted to bring one more bowling option in the mix but their options are limited and will have to rely on the off-spin of Aiden Markram to chip in as cover for a five-man bowling attack.
There is unlikely to be any change in the batting lineup and the Proteas will hope the batsmen would come after learning their lessons the hard way.
Quinton de Kock is an instrumental figure in the South Africa batting unit and his form with the bat will dictate how the Proteas will shape up against the defending champions.
The Proteas are unlikely to change their playing XI from the last game.
Quinton de Kock (WK), Temba Bavuma (C), Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Dwaine Pretorius, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi
The defending champions were rocked by England and it’s them who have to dwell over more issues than the Proteas before their next game.
Lendl Simmons was preferred over Roston Chase despite his horrible run of form with the bat and also, Chase’s absence made the Windies batting lineup a pretty one-dimensional unit that was not up to the task of soaking up the pressure and stabilising the innings.
Simmons selection for the first game hinted at the brand of cricket they are intending to play in the tournament but will the heavy defeat compel them to think a bit differently.
If yes, Chase can be brought at the top of the order or to number three that will push Gayle to his long-standing opening position, and in the right-hander, Windies will get someone who can play an innings such as Virat Kohli played against Pakistan that ensured they were not out of the game in the first half itself.
Rest, there is a high chance of playing the same team that played against England.
Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons/Roston Chase, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran (WK), Kieron Pollard (C), Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Akeal Hosein, Obed McCoy, Ravi Rampaul
CE Fantasy XI
Aiden Markram, Evin Lewis, Rassie van der-Dussen, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell, Kieron Pollard, Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Akeal Hosein
Captain: Quinton de Kock
Vice-captain: Shimron Hetmyer