South Africa and the West Indies need to get off the mark in Group 1 of the Super 12 at the 2021 ICC T20 Men’s World Cup. Both teams enter Tuesday’s match at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi off the back of defeats. The Proteas lost to Australia by five wickets last time out, while the Windies were beaten by England in a rematch of the dramatic final from 2016.
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In the United States, the match (6 a.m. ET start time) isn’t on TV, but anyone in the US can watch South Africa vs West Indies live on ESPN+ right here:
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South Africa vs West Indies Preview
Struggles at the crease ultimately doomed South Africa against Australia. Skipper Temba Bavuma managed just 12 runs from seven balls, while Quinton de Kock went seven from 12. Aiden Markram was the only member of the order to stand out, but he still needed to face 36 deliveries before he put 40 runs on the board.
The pressure’s now on to produce more than the 118 runs managed in the last match. It would help if David Miller and Heinrich Klaasen could find some form in the middle order. Both have the talent to find the boundary regularly, but they were dismissed too easily against Australia. Miller was bowled lbw by Adam Zampa, while Klaasen clipped a delivery from Pat Cummins into the hands of Steve Smith.
There are changes Bavuma can make, but his job will be a lot easier if De Kock plays to his ability. The 28-year-old is skilled enough to make 50s without too much fuss. He’s also enjoyed a fruitful record against the Windies, according to CricTracker’s Sabyasachi: “When the Proteas last toured the Caribbean Islands, De Kock racked up 255 runs from five matches at an average of 51 and a strike rate of 141.66.”
It will be up to Akeal Hosein to make sure De Kock doesn’t dominate against the West Indies again. The slow-paced leftie bowler was the lone bright spot during the Windies first game. Hosein bowled nine dots and took a pair of wickets, with his stunning catch to send Liam Livingstone packing an obvious highlight.
The 28-year-old only joined the squad when Fabian Allen withdrew with an ankle injury. Now Hosein looks like an asset on the sluggish pitches in the UAE. A changeup to Hosein’s game can come from Andre Russell if he’s fit enough to bowl early. Russell’s a pacer who can claim wickets in a hurry when at his best, but he’s been dealing with a hamstring injury.
Captain Kieron Pollard will rely on Russell to pile the misery on Australia’s struggling order. Pollard will also want Dwayne Bravo to be a factor with the ball. The 38-year-old has cleverly refined his deliveries, particularly his ability to create mischievous bounce with yorkers, per Deivarayan Muthu of ESPNCricinfo.
At least Pollard will be able to count on Chris Gayle to lead the way with the bat. Gayle was the only member of the Windies order who emerged with any credit against England. That the credit emerged from a mere 13 runs shows how poor the holders were in front of the wicket, ultimately being skittled for a dismal 55.
South Africa’s bowlers will be confident of producing a similarly destructive display. Kagiso Rabada chucked 14 dots and took a wicket during four overs against Australia. Anrich Nortje matched Rabada’s dots and also allowed a stingy economy rate of 5.25. They are both pacers capable of putting an early dent in the West Indies order. If that happens, the holders will face a second-straight defeat and be left on the brink.