Monday, 9 April 2007

Preview: West Indies vs South Africa

With Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka fairly certain of qualification for the semi-finals, only one spot is left up for grabs. It will be a fight til the death between South Africa, England, the West Indies and even Bangladesh. The first crunch match sees the West Indies look to reinvigorate their campaign against a dumbfounded South African side who lost to Bangladesh last week. The West Indies have won both of their last two World Cup encounters with South Africa and also the last two games in the Champions Trophy.

West Indies will need stella perfromances from their best batsman, especially Chris Gayle, who has so far failed to get the Windies off to characteristicly fast starts. Daren Powell will meanwhile need support with the ball and South Africa will be hoping that the offspin of Gayle and Marlon Samuels and legspin of Ramnaresh Sarwan will not prove to be as perilous as that of Bangladesh's triumvate spin attack. With the pitch at Grenada likely to favour bowling first though, it could be a seamers game, which will suit both sides, South Africa more so.

Herschelle Gibbs will miss the game with the injury which restricted him to batting at seven in the previous match. Loots Bosman is likely to open with Graeme Smith, while AB de Villiers, so far unsuccessful, should drop into a more comfortable position in the middle order. Andre Nel should maintain his place, having been one of the few positives against Bangladesh, while Andrew Hall, mysteriously absent against Bangladesh, should also return at the expense of either the disappointing Justin Kemp or Charle Langevelt.

Prediction: Whoever wins the toss and bowls should win. The tournament and of course England need the Windies to enact the Great Escape. Can South Africa react? Past history says no.

Players to watch: Brian Lara and Shaun Pollock.

No comments: