West Indies vs South Africa 5th T20I Preview: Big hitters hand West Indies advantage in decider
With the series locked at 2-2, West Indies are favourites to win the final match and lift the trophy.
Sinclair and Holder to return
West Indies made a couple of changes to their playing XI for the 4th T02I. The hosts brought in Chris Gayle in place of Jason Holder and replaced spinner Kevin Sinclair with 39 year old pacer Fidel Edwards.
Gayle could not do much with the bat and was dismissed for 5 off 8 deliveries after hitting a glorious boundary. However, he made up for that by conceding just 11 runs from his 2 overs and picking up one wicket.
The Universe Boss bowled the second and the last over of the innings. Off his very first delivery, he had Reeza Hendricks stumped by Nicholas Pooran which was massive in the context of the game.
Windies' other change did not work out as Fiddle Edwards went for 21 runs from his 2 overs.
The team is expected to bring back Kevin Sinclair in place of Fabian Allen, who was injured while fielding and did not take any further part in the match. Another change could be the return of Jason Holder in place of either Edwards or Shimron Hetmyer, who has not been able to make the most of his last two opportunities.
Simmon's consistency, Pooran's poor form
Nicholas Pooran has had a lean patch for a long time now and his place in the XI is far from certain.
West Indies were off to a scintillating start with them at 63/2 from 8.5 overs. This is when the wickets of Shimron Hetmyer, Lendl Simmons, Nicholas Pooran and Andre Russell fell relatively quickly and the tide turned.
Simmons was brilliant to begin with, after not being given an opportunity in the first two games of the series. The opener showed that he still has it in him to excel at the highest level as he made an eye-catching 47 off 34 balls with 4 fours and 4 sixes, batting at a strike rate of 138.24.
Nicholas Pooran helped West Indies rebuild for a short while, but he was dismissed just when they were looking to accelerate again. Had it not been for Kieron Pollard, West Indies would have managed somewhere around 140.
Pollard to the rescue
It was the hitting prowess of the West Indies' captain which pulled it back. South Africa have had a problem with the death bowling and that resurfaced again as they conceded 66 runs off their last four overs.
That said, one cannot blame the bowlers squarely as Pollard has done that to some of the best attacks in the world. He plundered an unbeaten 51 off just 25 balls with 2 fours and 5 sixes, batting at a strike rate of 204, to make a mark. Fabian Allen also contributed with 19 off 13 deliveries.
SA need a good 6th bowling option, pressure on Ngidi
The decision to hand Aiden Markram the very first over, which went for 20 runs, will come under question. Along with that, Lungi Ngidi has now been very expensive in three of the last four T20Is and might have to make way for somebody like Andile Phehlukwayo.
Kagiso Rabada also went at 12 RPO, but the Protea spinners George Linde and Tabraiz Shamsi did well. The duo conceded just 29 runs between them from 8 overs and took 4 valuable wickets.
De Kock, the lone warrior
South Africa did not start well, losing two wickets within the first 5 overs. Quinton de Kock waged a lone battle but there was no big contribution from the other end. He made 60 off 43 deliveries at a strike rate of almost 140.
It was a soft dismissal as de Kock was caught at point while trying to hit Dwayne Bravo's - who ended up recording his best T20I figures of 4/19 - wide full toss for a six. With his dismissal, South Africa's hopes of chasing down the total also came to a screeching halt.
West Indies favourites
With the series tied at 2-2, West Indies hold the upper hand. They have a lot of power-hitters in their batting line-up and almost all of them failed in their two defeats till now.
Even if a couple of them get going in the decider, South Africa will find it very tough to stop them.
Here's a look at the probable playing XIs:
West Indies - Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, Jason Holder, Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Kevin Sinclair, Obed McCoy
South Africa - Quinton de Kock, Reeza Hendricks, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, George Linde, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi
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