West Indies vs South Africa 2nd T20I Preview: Power-packed Windies threaten to blow SA away
West Indies are ranked 10th in the ICC T20 team rankings, but you wouldn't have got the impression had you seen them taking on South Africa in the opening T20I.
Rankings, and all that
As things stand, the reigning T20 World Cup Champions West Indies are placed below Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the ICC T20 rankings, with South Africa at the sixth spot. However, that did not seem to matter a trifle as West Indies took the field.
This was the first time in six years that the quartet of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard featured together in a T20 International together and they clicked right away. The team that West Indies put out on the park in the first T20I had a very capable batsman and spin bowling all-rounder Fabian Allen listed to bat at number 9 which certainly shows the batting prowess of the nation.
Right up Windies' alley
One would have thought that West Indies were a bit light on bowling resources. There was reason to believe it when South Africa put 53 runs on the board for the loss of one wicket in the powerplay, but the hosts pulled things back nicely with Fabian Allen and Dwayne Bravo taking two wickets each.
Allen was particularly impressive and registered his best figures in T20I cricket, conceding just 18 runs from his four overs while picking up the wickets of Reeza Hendricks and Temba Bavuma.
It is a great sign for West Indies that Andre Russell is close to full fitness and bowled 3 overs in the first match.
Rassie van der Dussen was clearly the best South African batsman on display as he remained unbeaten on 56 off 38 balls with 4 fours and 4 sixes is at a strike rate of 147.37. Quinton de Kock also batted well for 37 off 24 balls.
Temba Bavuma may be fairly young in his captaincy career as South Africa's white-ball skipper but he has a lot of leadership experience in domestic cricket. But, some of the calls he took on Saturday, right from team selection to the way he used his bowlers, led to some questions.
South Africa went in with six specialist batters, three seamers, one specialist spinner and a spin bowling all-rounder. They certainly need more heft in their bowling if they intend to trouble an exceptionally strong West Indies batting line-up. Ideally, he would have liked Bjorn Fortuin or Andile Phehlukwayo at his disposal.
Anrich Nortje, South Africa's most economical bowler in the first match, bowled just 2 overs while conceding 10 runs. When Reeza Hendricks goes for 21 runs off his only over, with George Linde and Lungi Ngidi going at 12 and 15.30 respectively, and Nortje still has 2 in the tank - the captain certainly missed a trick here
WI's formidable batting line-up
West Indies have gone down the England route and packed their batting with power hitters. As captain Kieron Pollard said in the post-match presentation, this seems only the first of several matches to come where West Indies will finish with a lot of overs in hand.
They made a mockery of South Africa's 160-run total, chasing it down with 5 overs to spare. Evin Lewis was the top scorer on the night and struck 71 off 35 balls at a strike rate of over 200. His opening partner Andre Fletcher was run out but not before the pair added 85 runs from just seven overs.
Chris Gayle and Andre Russell finished the job at hand, both smashing everything that came their way. With Nicholas Pooran and Kieron Pollard still in the shed when they achieved victory, West Indies don't have a lot to worry about.
Here's a look at the probable playing XIs:
West Indies - Evin Lewis, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, Jason Holder, Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Fabian Allen, Kevin Sinclair, Obed McCoy
South Africa - Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, Heinrich Klaasen, David Miller, Bjorn Fortuin/Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi
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