It’s too early for either team to panic but whoever loses will be in a difficult position for the rest of the group stages
South Africa and West Indies will hope the worst is out of the way after poor batting displays saw them lose their tournament openers. South Africa’s under-par 118 for 9 came first on Saturday, to end a winning streak which lasted seven matches and dates back to the last time they played West Indies, in July. South Africa won that series 3-2 in a decider, which may give them an advantage going into this match especially after the way West Indies performed in their first game.
Kieron Pollard’s men were dismissed for just 55 in a lacklustre display which may have made South Africa feel a little better about their showing. Even though West Indies’ form has been patchy leading up to the tournament, the magnitude and manner of their defeat to England was embarrassing, a word they themselves have used in assessment. West Indies have to get up, and get up quickly, and South Africa will know that. Temba Bavuma’s men will have to bear the brunt of an opposition’s desire for redemption and meet it with their own desperation to turn things around.
It’s too early for either team to panic but whoever loses will be in a difficult position, especially with strong subcontinental opposition to come.
(last five completed matches, most recent first) South Africa LWWWW West Indies LLWLW
In the spotlight
It’s hardly surprising that the batting on both sides will come under the microscope after their opening match blow-outs. With only one West Indian, Chris Gayle, getting into double-figures, all their players have points to prove, particularly when it comes to shot selection. Six of the West Indian top seven were dismissed playing loose, aerial strokes against England so a bit of tightening up may be in order. South Africa were less guilty of carelessness but undone by accuracy and pace from Australia’s quicks. A focus on footwork would not go amiss, especially in these conditions.
If any of the batters manage to get going it will be up to Keshav Maharaj and Akeal Hosein to keep them quiet, setting up an intriguing battle of the containers. Maharaj has become an almost-permanent fixture in the South African T20I XI, operating in the Powerplay and in the crucial middle overs. He doesn’t give much away and often picks up a wicket or two and will seek to frustrate West Indies’ big hitters. Hosein was given the new ball against England and did his bit to rattle their nerves, with two good catches off his bowling and a return of 2 for 24. South Africa are known to be hesitant against spinners and he may have an opportunity to poke holes in the line-up if their confidence is low.
With no middle-order batters on the bench, it’s difficult for South Africa to find a solution for David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen’s lack of form. The only thing they can do is insert top-order player Reeza Hendricks into the line-up, and potentially move Aiden Markram lower down to accommodate that. They may also re-look at the seam-bowling allrounder position and opt to leave one out completely, in favour of three quicks.
South Africa: (probable) 1 Quinton de Kock (wk), 2 Temba Bavuma (capt), 3 Aiden Markram, 4 Rassie van der Dussen, 5 David Miller, 6 Heinrich Klaasen/Reeza Hendricks, 7 Kagiso Rabada, 8 Keshav Maharaj, 9 Lungi Ngidi, 10 Anrich Nortje, 11 Tabraiz Shamsi
Although coach Phil Simmons did not go so far as to say he regretted leaving Roston Chase out, he indicated West Indies may consider including the offspin bowling-allrounder to balance their side. Chase’s inclusion would necessitate a change at the top of the order, with either Lendl Simmons sitting out and Chris Gayle opening with Evin Lewis or – someone call Curtly Ambrose – leaving Gayle out entirely.
West Indies: (probable) 1 Lendl Simmons, 2 Evin Lewis, 3 Chris Gayle, 4 Shimron Hetmyer, 5 Nicholas Pooran (wk), 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Andre Russell, 8 Dwayne Bravo 9 Akeal Hosein, 10 Obed McCoy, Ravi Rampaul
Pitch and conditions
Despite West Indies’ collapse on Saturday, the match between India and Pakistan showed that there are plenty of runs on offer in Dubai, provided batters apply themselves. As will be the case throughout the tournament, it will be hot and humid, with no risk of dew in the early game.
Stats and trivia
South Africa and West Indies have faced each other three times at T20 World Cups, in 2007, 2009 and 2016 and West Indies have only won the last of those.