Buoyant West Indies eye clean sweep
Wednesday, January 14
Start time 1800 local (1500 GMT)
Never mind a few days, what a difference a change in format can make. From being dominated in the Tests to dominating in the T20s, West Indies have done a complete 180 degree turn thanks largely to Chris Gayle.
Although he described himself as "not 100% fit" Gayle has been 100% merciless on an inexperienced South Africa attack and answered his own call for consistency by setting up a successful chase for the second time in Johannesburg. That it was also the world-record chase only speaks to the impact he can have on a team.
He has left his team-mates questioning what they will do without him and South Africa what to do against him, and at least one of those parties aren't too interested in finding the answer yet. South Africa have seemingly lost their appetite for this contest and will effectively field a side of reserves for the dead rubber.
In addition to resting their big names - Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel - and being forced to leave out JP Duminy and Quinton de Kock through injury, they have given regular T20 captain Faf du Plessis the day off as well. Justin Ontong, long-time Cobras captain, takes charge and called it "probably the proudest moment in my career". If he can conjure up a way to curb Gayle, it will be that and much more.
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West Indies WWWLL
In the spotlight
After being on the receiving end of a Gayle-storm twice in the two matches. South Africa's bowlers need to come up with a plan to keep West Indies' main man quiet. They have struggled to hit the find the right lengths, either by erroneously persisting with short balls or feeding full tosses as their attempts at yorkers go wrong, and may need to stick to the simplicity du Plessis hinted at in the lead up to the series - good length, outside off - to restrict their opposition.
Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo have not had the opportunity to do much with the bat, thanks to Gayle's dominance and they have their last chance to make an impact in this series. Neither is part of West Indies' ODI or World Cup squads and if they want to express how they feel about that omission on the field, this is their window.
South Africa will field a third captain this year - after Hashim Amla led in Tests and Faf du Plessis took over for the T20s - with Ontong given the leadership duties. He will have to inspire a squad who have been on the receiving end of what du Plessis kindly termed two "hidings" with the knowledge there is very little to be gained from this fixture. Rilee Rossouw should be given another chance to show what he can do at the top of the order and, without too many bowling options, South Africa will simply have to hope the men they have can tighten up, especially Kyle Abbott who is part of the World Cup squad.
South Africa: (possible) 1 Morne van Wyk (wk), 2 Rilee Rossouw, 3 Farhaan Behardien, 4 David Miller, 5 Justin Ontong (capt), 6 Wayne Parnell, 7 David Wiese, 8 Kyle Abbott, 9 Kagiso Rabada/Aaron Phangiso, 10 Marchant de Lange, 11 Imran Tahir
The series is wrapped up so West Indies may want to experiment by giving players like Carlos Brathwaite or Andre Fletcher a go but that may take second priority against the prospect of whitewashing South Africa. That could mean they will go with the same XI that did duty at the Wanderers.
West Indies: (possible) 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Dwayne Smith, 3 Marlon Samuels, 4 Kieron Pollard, 5 Andre Russell, 6 Dwayne Bravo, 7 Darren Sammy (capt), 8 Denesh Ramdin (wk), 9 Jason Holder, 10 Sulieman Benn, 11 Sheldon Cottrell
Pitch and conditions
"I don't think the conditions will be as good as they were at the Wanderers," Ontong said. By that, he means they won't be as fast. Run-scoring may be more laboured on a slower surface, which will make for less of a spectacle and more hard work, if the rain does not intervene. Thunderstorms are forecast from 5pm.
Stats and Trivia
- There have been 11 T20s played at Kingsmead and only one match has seen totals over 200, when India defended 218 against England at the World T20 in 2007.
- The chasing team has won just four times at this venue.
- South Africa have only played four other three-match T20 series and, to date, have not been whitewashed.
"I don't think we can play the way they play their cricket. We have to look at our strengths and the way we go about our business. There was nothing wrong with the batting in both of the games. We just need more work on the bowling front."
South Africa will not look to copy West Indies' style of play according to stand-in skipper Justin Ontong
"It's not often that a team that is ranked below a top team whitewashes them so that's the focus. We are not going to relax. We are saving the celebration for after the next match."
West Indies' team manager Richie Richardson, who celebrated his 53rd birthday on Monday with the series win and wants one more big effort from his team.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent