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Super Eight: WI vs South Africa

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The time has come for the Windies to stand up and deliver. Of course, the time has been coming for quite a while now and the Windies haven’t been doing too much of standing up and delivering. We hope that by now the ICC and whoever else concerned would have recognized their mistakes, reduced the numerous restrictions and tedious security checks to let the West Indians come in freely and see a fully crowded stadium. Give them freedom and they will then chant, they will then come out with all their enthusiasm. And with all this, Windies will finally have a home advantage coming into this game.

 
South Africa, on the other hand, also comes in this match with an urgent need to register a win after losing to Bangladesh. The Proteas suddenly find their campaign in a bit of a topsy-turvy situation – of course, something they are not unfamiliar with as far as world cup campaigns are concerned. Another loss and they will also join the list of teams hanging on the edge. So we come in tonight to watch what could be the match of survival, or a match of death.

 
Individual, inconsistent brilliance

 
Windies have some world-class batsmen in their side. More than four batsmen - Lara, Gayle, Chanderpaul and Sarwan - average 15 points above the team’s average. But what they lack is consistency. With only one big innings every 15 matches, these batsmen have to keep their focus this match and ensure that they make this innings count.

 

 Projected scores

 
The West Indians also have a problem in that they concede, on an average 238 runs each time they bowl and score a moderate 231 when they bat. While this does show that they concede more than they score, it also shows that the gap isn’t so big that some exceptional performances will can't bridge it.

On the other hand, South Africa give away 228 and amass 234 when the bat. Clearly, the Africans start with an advantage, but again, not with one so big that an error margin or a few slip-ups here and there can’t neutralize.

 

South African strengths

 
South Africa may exploit the given situation well as they too have some good batting with Gibbs, Kallis, Smith and Prince holding the reigns with batting averages 10 points above the team’s batting average. Also, South Africa has a superb bowling battery with Pollock and Ntini leading the pack with averages 4 points above the team’s bowling average.

 What this means is that South Africa’s best bowlers will invariably bowl to the cream of the Windies batting – Chanderpaul, Gayle and Sarwan, and we rarely have seen this superb opening bowling pair giving away too many runs to opposition, despite the pasting Gayle gave them last time. So if Pollock and Ntini neutralize the West Indian top order, a lot will again rest on Lara and Sarwan to see the Windies through,

The Proteas are good chasers, the Bangladesh game notwithstanding. Stats suggest that the Africans should bowl first. The legendary chase against Australia the powerful effort they made against them in the league match against them clears all doubts about their chasing capability.

 

When you come to a situation where you have to perform for the pride of the nation and more importantly for survival, the best in a sportsman comes out. Let’s face it, the result of this match will invariably go a long way in deciding the fate of the teams involved. Windies beware.


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