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South Africa Seek Elusive World Cup


South Africa open up their World Cup campaign tomorrow, in what promises to be the pick of the matches in the tournament so far.

It has been exactly a month since South Africa last played an ODI- wrapping up a tightly fought series 2-1 against India at home.

The West Indies are no longer the invincible force they once were, though on paper they look good enough to give South Africa a run for their money.

The other talking point on the eve of the match is the Delhi pitch and how it will behave.

The curators are confident that it will have something for both the batsmen and bowlers, but many are keeping their fingers crossed after the India-Sri Lanka match was called off for dangerous conditions 18 months ago.

After the ritualistic build up of expectations facing a South African side heading into the World Cup, the Proteas will be itching to get onto the field as soon as possible so that the cricket can start and the questions can end.

The respect that the Caribbean contingent has for the men in green is clear, yet they will still fancy themselves on the day.

This was clear earlier in the week when West Indies hard-hitter Chris Gayle said: “We know their capabilities. They are of top quality and we cannot slacken against them. We have to play our top game to beat them. Once we get a sniff in, we could actually try and capitalise on it as much as possible. All teams are beatable.”

South Africa (probable): 1 Graeme Smith, 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 JP Duminy, 6 Faf du Plessis, 7 Robin Peterson, 8 Johan Botha, 9 Morne Morkel, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Lonwabo Tsotsobe

West Indies (probable): 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Devon Smith, 3 Darren Bravo, 4 Ramnaresh Sarwan, 5 Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 6 Dwayne Bravo, 7 Kieron Pollard, 8 Darren Sammy, 9 Ravi Rampaul, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Sulieman Benn

South Africa's main issue surrounding the opener is how many spinners they should use. On a track that shows specks of green, they may feel justified in playing their three-pronged seam attack and two frontline spinners.

West Indies are likely to go with only one spinner, and it will probably be Sulieman Benn meaning Nikita Miller will be sitting in the pavilion.

If betting on the South African line up, look to Hashim Amla.

The last 12 months in one-day cricket have been raining runs for the Durban man. He has scored 1308 runs in 20 matches at an average of 72.66. Amla has gone from being a careful customer to a truly aggressive opener. When he gets it right, usually after the opening 10 overs, a big score is likely.

Batting is the West Indies' strength. Destructive Gayle, and the experienced Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan are the pillars of their batting. Darren Bravo is highly talked of and Kieron Pollard and Dwayne can belt the ball.

As per the Proteas- look to West Indian opener Gayle to free his arms here, and boundaries will inevitably result. Darren Bravo has been talked up as the next Brian Lara and will be looking to make a name for himself against top opposition such as this.

For West Indies, this World Cup pressure of a completely different kind. They have slipped below Bangladesh in the ODI rankings to ninth position, and this World Cup presents them with an opportunity to show that they can still be counted among the top nations in international cricket.

Interesting fact:  South Africa has beaten the West Indies in the last 11 ODI’s the two sides have contested.


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