South Africa v West Indies, 2nd T20, Johannesburg January 10, 2015

South Africa must quell Gayle

Rilee Rossouw played an effective innings for South Africa, but a poor Powerplay cost them early momentum © Gallo Images

Match facts

Sunday, January 11
Start time 1500 local (1300 GMT)

Big Picture

There were two different games played during the opening T20 in Cape Town: the one by Chris Gayle and then the one by everyone else. Gayle's extraordinary display of striking, which included a sequence of 52 off 11 balls, meant even another West Indies collapse was not terminal this time.

And if Gayle can hit them a long way at Newlands, there had better be a good supply of spare balls at the Wanderers where the higher altitude means sixes can fly. It would seem, on the evidence of the first match, that South Africa's main challenge - with their fairly inexperienced attack - is quelling Gayle although this is one of the stronger West Indies line-ups available.

The slightly scary prospect for South Africa is that Johannesburg was the venue for another of Gayle's famous T20 onslaughts, his 117 off 57 balls during the opening match of the inaugural World T20 in 2007 - although, remarkably, it came in defeat as the home side chased down 206 with plenty of time to spare.

Faf du Plessis conceded his team were second favourites before this series and, whether or not that was an attempt to transfer the pressure back onto West Indies, the evidence of the opening game supports that view. The Powerplays were not good for South Africa; with the bat they only managed 35 for 2 and then they were hammered to the tune of 78 for none by Gayle.

Form guide

South Africa LLLWL
West Indies WWLLW

In the spotlight

It has been an interesting few weeks for Imran Tahir. Recalled and dropped from the Test side in the space of two matches, a domestic suspension for a clash with umpires but then retaining his position as the team's premier one-day spinner. His returns at Newlands showed why he remains a key player with the white ball and it is important for South Africa that Tahir's confidence stays high for the challenges of the next few months.

It was all right on the night for West Indies after Gayle's display, but their middle order gave cause for concern as they became lazy with the target in sight. A wobble of 4 for 17 made the end more tense than it should have been and while, perhaps, too much should not be written into it given the state of the match some greater composure would not go amiss.

Team news

South Africa may consider tweaking their pace attack. Marchant de Lange is part of the squad and could replace Kagiso Rabada who bore the brunt of Gayle. Justin Ontong, acting as cover for JP Duminy who remains unavailable, is an option if any tinkering to the batting is wanted.

South Africa (possible) 1 Morne van Wyk (wk), 2 Reeza Hendricks, 3 Faf du Plessis (capt), 4 Rilee Rossouw, 5 Farhaan Behardien, 6 David Miller, 7 Wayne Parnell, 8 David Wiese, 9 Kyle Abbott, 10 Marchant de Lange, 11 Imran Tahir

There would appear to be little need for West Indies to make any changes. However, they will want to be careful not to put all their eggs in the Gayle-shaped basket. Bravo and Pollard, reportedly not in the World Cup squad, should be eager to make a point or two.

West Indies (possible) 1 Dwayne Smith, 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Marlon Samuels, 4 Dwayne Bravo, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Andre Russell, 7 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 8 Darren Sammy (capt), 9 Jason Holder, 10 Ashley Nurse, 11 Sheldon Cottrell

Pitch and conditions

Expect good pace and carry, which should enable some attacking strokeplay. There is a threat of a storm - the last two T20 internationals on this ground were impacted by the weather so locals will have their fingers crossed.

Stats and Trivia

  • The average total batting first at the Wanderers is 169; 11 of the 21 T20s at the ground have been won chasing
  • Imran Tahir has the lowest bowling average in T20 internationals (13.52) of any bowler to have taken at least 25 wickets


"Chris is very versatile in the areas he scores. He hasn't just got one shot. He hits different boundaries off different balls and it's difficult to stop him."
Faf du Plessis acknowledged the challenges of bowing to Gayle

"We were just giving the fans something to cheer about. I wasn't worried at all. I knew we would get there in the end."
Mr Cool, Chris Gayle, had no worries despite West Indies' late wobble

Andrew McGlashan is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo