West Indies search for morale boost
Match FactsThursday, May 20
Start time 1400 (1800 GMT)
The Big PictureSouth Africa had the better of a scrappy outing in the first Twenty20 yesterday, but although they will have been desperate for a positive start to their tour after the fallout of their unsuccessful World Twenty20 campaign, the circumstances of their victory call for further introspection, and there is still some way for them to go before they are back to their best.
To be fair, South Africa can hardly take all the blame the low-intensity, sloppy display of the first match. Although the outfield held up well, the pitch at the Sir Vivian Richards stadium remains substandard, especially for limited-overs cricket, and West Indies' efforts in the game were hardly inspirational. The stadium was only around a tenth full, and it remains to be seen whether today's game will attract more local interest.
South Africa have made something of a fresh start in the shorter formats, with Herschelle Gibbs and Mark Boucher left out, with Alviro Petersen and Ryan McLaren slotting in to the line-up, with AB de Villiers keeping wicket. While Petersen, who normally plays as an opening batsman, failed when brought in at No. 7, McLaren took his chances to record the second-best bowling figures in Twenty20 history with 5 for 19.
After a wearily familiar performance from West Indies yesterday, in which they performed well in fits and starts but never built up any consistency as a team, it may be time for them to do some re-thinking and clearing out too. Indeed, Chris Gayle has warned his underperforming batsmen that their time is running out, and the side will be under intense pressure to perform today.
Form guide (most recent first)South Africa WLLWW
West Indies LLWLW
Watch out for...Given the gloves for the first time in T20 International's last game, AB De Villiers did a sterling job. Chances were easily snaffled and his leg-side stumping of Narsingh Deonarine off Johan Botha was exhilarating. However, with the bat for South Africa he's flickered without firing for too long in this format. The pitch may not be easy but it's time for him to lift his and South Africa's game.
When things start to go wrong, West Indies can too often let their shoulders slump and allow the game to drift. One man, though, is always fighting, always bustling and always believing. Dwayne Bravo may be struggling for form with the ball but he was West Indies' best batsman in the opening fixture and, given the responsibility of batting three, could be the man to carry a fragile batting line-up.
Team newsShivnarine Chanderpaul was left out of the line-up for the first game, but with West Indies under pressure after their defeat he could well come back in to provide some stability to a shaky top order. Andre Fletcher failed with the bat, but looked sharp behind the stumps and should retain his place, although whether he opens or comes in down the order remains to be seen.
West Indies (possible) 1 Chris Gayle (capt), 2 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 3 Dwayne Bravo, 4 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 5 Kieron Pollard, 6 Andre Fletcher (wk), 7 Darren Sammy, 8 Jerome Taylor, 9 Nikita Miller, 10 Sulieman Benn, 11 Kemar Roach.
South Africa's experiment with Alviro Petersen down the order didn't quite work out in the first game, and they could well opt to bring in 20-year-old Dolphins left-hander, David Miller, who made a 60-ball 115 for South Africa A during their recent match against Bangladesh A in Mirpur.
South Africa (possible) 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Loots Bosman, 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 AB de Villiers (wk), 5 David Miller, 6 JP Duminy, 7 Johan Botha, 8 Ryan McLaren, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Roelof van der Merwe, 11 Charl Langeveldt
Pitch and conditionsThe outfield at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium looked far improved from the sandpit that lead to the farcical abandoned Test during England's tour last year, if a little on the slow side. But the pitch had a mottled hue, and was unpredictably two-paced. It seemed to have settled down a touch by the time West Indies batted, but conditions for the batsmen are likely to be less than friendly today once again.
Stats and trivia
- Ryan McLaren's figures of 5 for 19 in the first game are the second-best in Twenty20 history, behind Umar Gul's stunning 5 for 6 against New Zealand. He also became just the fourth bowler to register a five-wicket haul in the format, and Darren Sammy is one of the three other bowlers to reach the feat.
Quotes"We all know the nature of T20 cricket - the bowler is always up against it."
Ryan McLaren talks up his man-of-the-match winning 5 for 19.
"We have to pick ourselves up. This is no time for pointing fingers."
Chris Gayle urges his side to remain motivated despite their loss in the opening game.
Liam Brickhill is an assistant editor at ESPN Cricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.