ICL: Indian Cricket League

Crunch time as Windies take on SA


westindiesThe West Indies and South Africa go into their World Cup Super Eights match here at the Grenada National Stadium on Tuesday (today), both knowing that a defeat could end their chances of reaching the semifinals.

South Africa’s shock 67-run defeat against Bangladesh in Guyana on Saturday transformed them from one of the sides most likely to reach the last four to a team hanging on to a slim hope of going through.

The West Indies, meanwhile, are by captain Brian Lara’s admission, “in a crisis situation”. To be sure of reaching the semifinals, both teams need to win all three of their remaining matches, although it is possible that two wins and a healthy run-rate could be enough.

Both South Africa and the West Indies have negative run rates so would need some big wins to get through in the event of a tie. South Africa captain Graeme Smith admitted the defeat against Bangladesh had meant the loss of two points his team were banking on. “It’s a big loss for us,” he said.

But Smith said his team had the ability to bounce back. “It’s still in our control and the next three games are important. We don’t want to be relying on other people to get us through,” he added.

Smith said South Africa had failed in the basics against Bangladesh. “We put ourselves under pressure by not doing the simple things right. We’ve got the players, we’ve got the team and we have to show a bit of character,” he explained.

Adding to the uncertainty ahead of the first match of the World Cup to be played in Grenada is that a new pitch has been laid at the National Stadium, rebuilt after the original Queen’s Park ground was devastated by the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005.

Lara said after his team’s 113-run defeat by Sri Lanka in Guyana last Sunday that his team were physically drained by having four games on sandy outfields in ten days.

They will play South Africa after a break of nine days between matches. Some of the players took time off before reassembling in Grenada and the team have been heavily criticised with Lara’s captaincy singled out for derision. But they will be buoyed by their record against South Africa in big tournaments, although in all matches between the two teams South Africa have a big lead.

Gayle is one of the players who has yet to find form for the West Indies in the World Cup. South Africa have injury concerns over batsman Herschelle Gibbs, who had to leave the field because of a calf strain during the Bangladesh match, and all-rounder Andrew Hall, who was rested because of what was described as a minor thigh strain.

The South Africans will have a selection dilemma if Hall recovers. Andre Nel, who replaced him Saturday, took a career-best five for 45 and was the only South African to perform to his best ability. Among the disappointments were opening bowlers Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini.
Source:The News

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