SA v WI, Champions Trophy, Group B, Cardiff June 13, 2013

Rain threat looms over crucial tie


Match Facts

Friday, June 14, 2013, Cardiff
Start time 10.30am (9.30 GMT)

Big Picture

A glance at Cardiff's pregnant skies is enough to set the tone for the knockout clash between South Africa and West Indies and it is not a positive one. What should be a fascinating clash between a team that dominates outside of major tournaments and a team trying to recreate their glory days may not even happen. If it does, it is likely to be interrupted by rain.

Should the wet weather have the final say, South Africa will progress by virtue of a better net run-rate but they will not want to go into the real knockouts in such fortunate circumstances. Neither will West Indies want to exit the tournament in a drizzle of disappointment, although they have two poor batting performances to blame for their current standing in the group.

While South Africa showed improvement, particularly in the bowling department, in their second game, West Indies remained static. As a result, they have not managed a total of even 240 so far and against South Africa, it would be safe to assume, they may need many more to win.

But this is not a normal occasion for South Africa; this is a pressure game and that alone could scramble their minds. Even if Dale Steyn is fit and firing, their main battle will be with themselves as they try to rewrite their reputations as big-game bloopers.

West Indies will fancy themselves more than usual, especially because they have been the team that have put South Africa out of tournaments the most. On three occasions, they have been responsible for South Africa taking the next flight home and their cavalier confidence has often given them the edge over a team paranoid of failure.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

South Africa: WLWWL

West Indies: LWWWW

In the Spotlight

There hasn't been much opportunity for a finisher like David Miller to show what he is capable of. The "in the arc, out of the park" hitter has had mixed results in a tournament where run-scoring has tapered as innings go on, but team management remains confident Miller will be able to make an impact at some point. Given a firm foundation and licence to thrill, it may be his big day.

Sunil Narine has encountered South Africans at the IPL but has never played against South Africa and he may well be relishing the opportunity. Despite reams of video evidence, Narine remains difficult to pick - with both his offbreak and doosra bowled out of the front of the hand and made trickier by his pace. Although the stereotype about South Africa's batsmen being spun into submission doesn't apply anymore, he could still cause ample problems for a team under pressure.

Team news

With Dale Steyn declared fit and available, South Africa will likely go in with four seamers, one specialist spinner in Robin Peterson and JP Duminy as an allrounder. That will mean only one change for them with Colin Ingram occupying the top spot ahead of specialist opener Alviro Petersen and Farhaan Behardien missing out again.

South Africa: (probable) 1 Colin Ingram, 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Faf du Plessis, 4 AB de Villiers (capt, wk), 5 JP Duminy, 6 David Miller, 7 Ryan McLaren 8 Robin Peterson 9 Chris Morris, 10 Dale Steyn/Aaron Phangiso, 11 Lonwabo Tsotsobe

An unchanged XI is expected and with Denesh Ramdin still suspended, Johnson Charles will keep wickets again.

West Indies: (probable) 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Johnson Charles (wk), 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Marlon Samuels, 5 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 6 Dwayne Bravo (capt), 7 Kieron Pollard, 8 Darren Sammy, 9 Sunil Narine, 10 Ravi Rampaul, 11 Kemar Roach

Pitch and conditions

Rain fell consistently throughout Wednesday and Thursday and more showers are forecast for match day with a window of clear weather predicted only between 2pm and 5pm. That could be enough to squeeze in a 20-over shootout, but both teams will want more than that. Should play take place, the moisture is likely to make conditions conducive for the pacers.

The ground has seen one run-fest between India and South Africa and one low-scoring scuffle between Sri Lanka and New Zealand, but both took place before the rains. So fairly fresh conditions can be expected for this match.

Stats and Trivia

  • Chris Gayle has scored three hundreds against South Africa, two of them in losing causes.

  • Three of the 12 ODIs played at Sophia Gardens have been washed out - 25%. South Africa have been involved in two of those.


"They know if they lose, they are going back home. They have a tag of being chokers that do well in big tournaments, so that would be added pressure on them."
West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo

"They always say batting second is easier when there is a bit of weather around. I'm not too fussed about that. Whether we play a shortened game or a normal game, it's all about focus and team intensity off the field."
South African captain AB de Villiers

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 14, 2013, 22:13 GMT

    Ironic title, considering the outcome of the game.

  • David on June 14, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    In the match preview, Firdose notes in "Stats & Trivia" that Gayle has 3 ODI centuries against SA. That's impressive, but not the whole story. For those wanting a bigger picture, here is a breakdown of Gayle's stats.

    Matches - 27. Runs scored - 875. Ave - 35. Innings under 10 runs - 9 (33%) Innings under 30 runs - 20 (74%) Fifties - 1. Centuries - 3. Won - 6. Lost - 20. NR - 1

    417 of his runs came in 3 innings, ave 417. (WI won 1 of those 3) 458 runs came in 24 innings, ave 19.08.

    Gayle vs Steyn. 4 ODIs, ave 45, scores of 2, 16, 26, 45. Gayle faced 33 Steyn balls, scoring 32 @ RR 97. Twice he was dropped on 2. If held, he'd have scored 18 off 25, ave 8, @ RR 72. South Africa won all 4 games.

    Other interesting "Stats & Trivia." AB de Villiers: 16 matches, 3 centuries @ ave 64.25. Hashim Amla: 7 matches, 2 centuries @ ave 69.52. Dale Steyn: 8 matches, 11 @ ave 30.72, SR 38.5

    Does number crunching during a rain delay mean I'm just bored, or an incurable cricket nerd?

  • Dummy4 on June 14, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    I don't know what is the point of these 36 overs-a-side games?! 14 overs would mean just over an hour for every team. Why can't they just play after usual time? It's not as if the players, umpires, spectators or ground staff or the ground itself has any other commitments!

  • Chris on June 14, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    And that's why Cricket is an unpopular sport. The game can be disrupted by rain.

  • Dummy4 on June 14, 2013, 12:20 GMT

    Im a West Indian fan, and very disappointed with Dwayne Bravo's logic in press conferences .Im tired of him saying that they have prepared well. They haven't .I dont know what they are doing in the nets , but it isnt working . Ottis Gibson has coached this team for a while ,with no positive results in ODI format .Our bowling has not gotten better despite all our top bowlers being fit. Sarwan is not hallf the player he used to be and i think he's finished ,same for the bravo brothers ,samuels and gayle , which leaves our cricket in disarray. Pollard has been a great disappointment in big tournaments ,no surprises there.The only man who has over exceeded is Darren Sammy with the bat at least. Dont call South Africa chokers ,because we as a nation have been the hallmark of good talent ,but less than average cricket.

  • Amir on June 14, 2013, 12:18 GMT

    I believe that a 36 overs game will favor WI more than SA because WI batsman are more suited for a shorter format of the game than a relatively longer version of 50 overs.

  • Sharky on June 14, 2013, 11:56 GMT

    Cricket's longest format Kings (South Africa) meet cricket's shortest format Kings (West Indies) in the middle, in a medium format game. I guess South Africa would rather prefer the game to be abandoned, rather than to play a shorter form of the game.

  • Vijay P on June 14, 2013, 11:14 GMT

    @Chhitiz Buchasia, You have to make an estimate of how many overs you are going to lose based on the forecast before the match. I am not talking about a 2hr thunderstorm of 30% chance. If you have rain spells of few hrs with 50% chance or more, some part of the match is bound to be wiped out.

  • Neo on June 14, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    "sundar411, Whenever you hold a tournament in England, it is better to just have the captains of all teams around and have toss ceremonies and hand over the cup to the ultimate winner of tosses."

    haha......rightly said.

  • Dummy4 on June 14, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    A 20/20 type game for sure West Indies will go through, and if so be the case we will win the tournament.