ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

West Indies v South Africa, Group B, World Cup 2011, Delhi

Recent form favours South Africa

South Africa are favourites based on recent form, but West Indies can draw inspiration from their excellent performances in global tournaments against South Africa

Madhusudhan Ramakrishnan

February 23, 2011

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Chris Gayle lashes a boundary during his frenetic innings, Sri Lanka v West Indies, World Cup warm-up match, Colombo, February 15, 2011
Chris Gayle: centuries in all three formats against South Africa © AFP

Going by recent form, South Africa are firm favourites going into their first match of the World Cup, against West Indies. South Africa have won 26 of the 39 matches played since the beginning of 2009 and along with Australia, have the best win-loss ratio in the same period. Their only series defeats since 2009 have come against England and India, and their biggest disappointment was the failure to make the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy in 2009. West Indies, on the other hand, have won just 10 matches and lost 27 since the beginning of 2009, and have the worst win-loss ratio among Test-playing teams. Their last series win against a Test-playing team came in the home series against Sri Lanka in 2007-08. However, what makes the match-up interesting is that West Indies have almost always found a way to compete against South Africa in global tournaments, where they have won four out of the eight matches played between the two sides.

Head-to-head record
South Africa have beaten West Indies in their last eleven meetings since the Champions Trophy in 2006. However, West Indies can draw confidence from their record against South Africa in global tournaments. While Brian Lara's superb centuries in Karachi and Cape Town gave them victories in the 1996 and 2003 World Cup matches, it was Chris Gayle's aggressive 133 which led to a convincing six-wicket win in the Champions Trophy match in Jaipur in 2006. South Africa, though, boosted by AB de Villiers' 146, won comfortably on the last occasion the teams met in the World Cup, in 2007. In the subcontinent, South Africa have a better record, having won four out of six matches played between the two teams. Since 2000, however, West Indies are one of only three teams to boast a positive win-loss record in ODIs in India.

West Indies v South Africa in ODIs
Played Won Lost
Overall 50 12 37
Home 21 5 16
Away/Neutral 29 7 21
Global tournaments 8 4 4
In subcontinent 6 2 4
Since Jan 2008 10 0 10

South Africa's batting dominance
Since January 2008, South Africa have a batting average of 37.42, the best among all teams that have played at least 50 matches. In contrast, West Indies average just 25.73. While South African batsmen have made 111 fifty-plus scores in 56 matches, West Indies have just 69 fifty-plus scores in 61 matches. South Africa's record against West Indies is even more impressive; in ten ODIs since the beginning of 2008, they average 42.94 with five centuries. West Indian batsmen, on the other hand, have not scored a single century and average just 25.94. Jacques Kallis, de Villiers and Hashim Amla average over 50 in the last three years in matches against West Indies. Amla especially, has been exceptional scoring over 400 runs in five matches with two centuries and one half-century. Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who averages nearly 44, has been the solitary success for West Indies in recent head-to-head matches against South Africa. Gayle, who is the only player to score a century against South Africa in all three formats, has had a very poor time since 2008. In five matches against South Africa, he has scored just 128 runs without a single half-century.

Batting stats in head-to-head matches since 2008
Batsman Team Matches Runs Average Strike rate 100 50
Jacques Kallis South Africa 10 452 56.50 89.32 1 4
AB de Villiers South Africa 10 425 53.12 89.47 1 3
Hashim Amla South Africa 5 402 80.40 101.25 2 1
Shivnarine Chanderpaul West Indies 7 307 43.85 64.49 0 4
Dwayne Bravo West Indies 10 252 25.20 84.28 0 1
Chris Gayle West Indies 5 128 25.60 90.78 0 0

Bowling experience the key
Dale Steyn, the best fast bowler in Tests over the last few years, has been less effective in ODIs. He has picked up 58 wickets at an average of nearly 30 since the beginning of 2008. Surprisingly, his record against West Indies is poor: he has just eight wickets in seven matches at an average of 39.25. Morne Morkel has been much more impressive, with 53 wickets at 24.18. He has picked up 18 wickets in his last seven matches against West Indies with two four-wicket hauls. Lonwabo Tsotsobe lends variety to the pace attack, while the consistent Johan Botha has led the spin attack well over the last few years. With legspinner Imran Tahir showing plenty of promise, South Africa's attack has lots of class and variety.

In the absence of the injured Jerome Taylor and Fidel Edwards, the West Indian pace attack is led by Kemar Roach and Ravi Rampaul. Dwayne Bravo, the highest wicket-taker for West Indies since 2008, and Darren Sammy complete the pace line-up. Despite the presence of spinners like Sulieman Benn and Nikita Miller, the bowling attack overall lacks the experience and firepower that South Africa possess.

First ten and last ten overs
South Africa have been the superior batting side, scoring at a higher run-rate and averaging higher than West Indies in the mandatory Powerplay overs and the last ten overs. When the bowling performance is analysed, West Indies have a slightly better economy rate in both the first ten and last ten overs. Overall though, the run-rate difference is significantly better for South Africa.

Performance in first ten overs and last ten overs since Jan 2009
Team Overs Runs scored Run rate Wickets lost Batting avg Runs Conceded Economy rate Wickets taken Bowling avg Run rate difference
South Africa 1-10 2144 5.49 38 56.42 1835 5.07 51 35.98 0.42
West Indies 1-10 1808 4.77 58 31.17 1876 4.70 44 42.63 0.07
South Africa 41-50 2194 7.85 90 24.37 1960 7.46 103 19.02 0.39
West Indies 41-50 1339 7.31 75 17.85 1664 7.18 78 21.33 0.13

Delhi, the venue for the game, has hosted just five ODIs since 2000. Three of those matches were won by the team batting first, but India won the only day-night game by six wickets against Australia in 2009. The most recent match in Delhi - between India and Sri Lanka in December 2009 - however, ended abruptly as the pitch was deemed dangerous for play to continue. The focus will thus be as much on the pitch as the teams on Thursday.


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Posted by ashi89.t07 on (February 24, 2011, 7:42 GMT)

WI are a team full of matchwinners.The problem is they don't realize they can win matches against good teams.Once they believe they can win I am sure they can do it.SA will start as clear favourites though and the green pitch will help them.

Posted by Saffalicious on (February 23, 2011, 18:51 GMT)

This is like comparing a featherweight with a heavyweight. Lets face it, SA at a canter here

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