Daijiworld Media Network
Cardiff, Jun 14 : We're starting with some bad news. It has been raining pretty heavily at Cardiff for the last few hours and we're in for a delayed start. The rain is not too heavy at the moment, but it'll take a while before we get any play today. The forecast is not encouraging as well, so let's hope rain doesn't completely washout the game. It's a crucial one for both sides; a virtual quarter final. If we don't get a game today, South Africa will go through to the semi final. They have the better Net run rate.
West Indies have won the toss and elected to field
West Indies (Playing XI): Chris Gayle, Johnson Charles(w), Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Devon Smith, Dwayne Bravo(c), Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy, Sunil Narine, Tino Best, Ravi Rampaul
South Africa (Playing XI): Hashim Amla, Colin Ingram, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers(w/c), Jean-Paul Duminy, David Miller, Robin Peterson, Ryan McLaren, Chris Morris, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe
AB de Villiers: ' Weather is not in our control, so we're confident with our game. We know the conditions well here. We played a game against India and we got used to it. Dale Steyn is fit and he's in for Aaron Phangiso.'
Dwayne Bravo: 'Looking forward to the shortened version. There is going to be more excitement. The shortened version suits both teams. Yes, we fancy our chances but whichever team plays better wins. Tino Best comes in for Roach, who is ill. Sarwan is out and Devon Smith is in. '
The decider - as it is being called, South Africa and West Indies will battle it out in the 9th match of the Champions cup to secure a place in the semi-finals. It will be a do-or-die situation as both teams have an equal chance to upset the other and move forward. A loss here could mean end of the road for that team in the final Champions Trophy cup. Having said that, Cardiff looms with the threat of 80% chances of rains and the weather may put a damper on what might otherwise be an exciting match. And in case the match rains out, South Africa will get through on the basis of a better net run-rate.
After a straightforward loss against India in their opening match of the tournament, South Africa did well to bounce back and beat Pakistan by a huge margin of 67 runs just last week. The mainstay of the team is their exceptional batting. Right from the openers till number seven in their unit, all batsmen have been in a brilliant form and if they win the toss, one can expect a barrage of runs. Hashim Amla has been destructive hitting a solid 81 that helped him earn the Man of the match award in the previous match. The other batsmen Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, David Miller, Ryan McLaren all have been in decent form contributing useful runs to the total. Although there have been middle-order collapses that have pegged back their batting at times, one cannot deny that South Africa commands one of the best batting units in the tournament and they would be expected to put up a fighting total when they take on West Indies.
Having no Dale Steyn or Morne Morkel in the side, on paper, makes the Proteas look weak. However, a spectacular bowling performance convincingly led by Ryan McLaren helped South Africa in achieving a huge victory over Pakistan, bowling them out for a mere 167 runs. McLaren was assisted by new-comer Chris Morris who was responsible for sending Pakistan's two most dangerous batsmen home and Tsotsobe who was just as economical and wonderful. Other part-time bowlers have done well to curb the flow of runs putting pressure on opposition batsmen when needed. And with Dale Steyn set to return back for their final league game, it would be a tough task for the West Indies batsmen to overcome the Protean bowling attack.
Their only cause of concern is the fielding which cost them extra runs and they need to take special care of that. Also, they would need to take a look at their dismal running between the wickets which resulted in four run-outs in the previous match.
After barely registering a win against Pakistan in their first match, West Indies were humiliated by India in their last match when their batsmen failed to put up a respectable total and their bowlers faltered against a formidable Indian batting attack. Their batting has been a cause of concern in both the games, with only Johnson Charles and Darren Sammy playing to their strength in the previous game. While Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard have managed to make some 20-30 runs in both the games, they have failed to convert those starts into substantial innings. Other middle order batsmen like Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels and Ramnaresh Sarwan have been equally disappointing.
The way Indians mercilessly thrashed West Indies bowling was enough to doubt their capability especially after putting up a noteworthy performance to bowl out Pakistan for 170 in their first game. Whereas all the bowlers had chipped in to to make it difficult for the struggling Pakistani batsmen to pile any decent runs, only Sunil Narine was able to make any impact on the Indians in the second game. The heroes of the first match failed to contain the Indian batsmen and even after using as many as 8 bowlers, West Indies lost the match by 8 wickets. If Windies want to have any shot at winning this match, they will have to out-bowl their counterparts as the South African batting packs in a lot of fire-power to destroy even the best of bowling attacks