Thursday, June 3, 2010
Start time 09.30 local, 13.30 GMT
The Big Picture
West Indies are struggling, and their problems are not confined to performance. Their board CEO, Ernest Hilaire, delivered a scathing indictment of the state of affairs in West Indies cricket, telling fans they were in store for more "embarrassment" from their players in the years to come. Not just for the lack of quality, but an attitude that, he felt, favoured fame and wealth over excellence. Then came the incident involving Sulieman Benn, who was sent off the field by his captain Chris Gayle for disobeying instructions. All this during another disappointing series, which has helped South Africa recover from their Super Eights exit and continued West Indies' frustrating run in front of their home crowds. Just one defeat away from a whitewash, the hosts are in dire need of a psychological boost ahead of the Tests.
For South Africa, a win tomorrow will mark a continuation of the three-year dominance they've enjoyed over their opponents.
Form guide (most recent first)
West Indies: LLLLW South Africa: WWWWW
Watch out for...
Graeme Smith: While several of his team-mates have cashed in on the tour, the South African captain has failed to convert starts. His scores in the four ODIs read 18, 37, 29 and 23, and thrice has he been dismissed by Dwayne Bravo. In his last 11 international innings, he has reached double-figures each time but his highest score remains 37. With three Tests to follow, he needs to get some confidence going.
Chris Gayle: The captains share a similar predicament when it comes to individual form, but there has been little support from the rest for West Indies. Following his team's failures with the bat in the first three games, Gayle had called on his batsmen to shoulder more responsibility. His own scores this series read 45, 26, 16 and 29 and with a significant burden to bear at the top in the Tests, he needs to hit form.
West Indies' bowling lacked depth in the fourth ODI and they need Jerome Taylor, who was out of that game due to a niggle, back. David Bernard could be asked to sit out in the event of Taylor's return.
West Indies (possible): 1 Dale Richards, 2 Chris Gayle (capt), 3 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 4 Dwayne Bravo, 5 Darren Bravo, 6 Kieron Pollard, 7 Darren Sammy, 8 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 9 Jerome Taylor/David Bernard, 10 Sulieman Benn, 11 Ravi Rampaul.
South Africa didn't need their best available line-up to beat West Indies in the previous game. But they will be eager to make a clean sweep of the series, and might be tempted to bring back Dale Steyn.
South Africa (possible): 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 AB de Villiers (wk), 5 JP Duminy/Alviro Peterson, 6 David Miller, 7 Johan Botha, 8 Ryan McLaren, 9 Morne Morkel, 10 Charl Langeveldt/Dale Steyn, 11 Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
There are scattered thunderstorms forecast in Port of Spain tomorrow, increasing the possibility of a truncated fixture.
Stats and trivia
South Africa have swept the series 5-0 twice against West Indies, in 2005 and 2008. If they win tomorrow, it will be their second 5-0 victory in an ODI series in the West Indies.
The Queen's Park Oval at Port of Spain will be hosting its first ODI in more than two years. Teams have opted to field in the last six games here, winning three and losing as many.
"For us, the players that comprise the limited-overs squad, it would restore a lot of confidence in us, after we performed so poorly in the T20 World Cup." Graeme Smith on what a 5-0 win means for his team.
"(Losing is) tough. Because in those four defeats, and if you take the two Twenty20s into consideration, five of those games we had a realistic chance of winning. Hopefully, we can put ourselves in a winning position again on Thursday." Ottis Gibson, the West Indies coach.