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West Indies v South Africa: T20 Series Preview

West Indies v South Africa: T20 Series Preview. With the win in the Test Series in the pocket for South Africa, they move onto the T20s is something that is going to be the more difficult format of the tour and certainly the more important.

West Indies Proteas Betting

With the win in the Test Series in the pocket for South Africa, the move onto the T20s is something that is going to be the more difficult format of the tour and certainly the more important, with the T20 World Cup around the corner. Places are still up for grabs for that World Cup, so there is plenty of reason to play well and show your talent. It goes without saying that without Faf Du Plessis (who was not chosen) and AB de Villiers (who chose not to come out of retirement, after suggesting he would make himself available a few months ago) that the task in hand is going to be more difficult. It is with this background that even after a likely Test Series loss, the West Indies as twice T20 World Cup winners will be favourites. Another thing in the favour of the West Indies is the fact they have six players from the 2016 T20 World Cup-winning squad whereas SA only have three from that campaign and those six have won plenty in this format, including at franchise level.

South African Squad

Temba Bavuma (Captain), Quinton de Kock, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, George Linde, Sisanda Magala, Janneman Malan, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams.

West Indies Squad

Kieron Pollard – (Captain), Nicholas Pooran – Vice Captain, Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, Kevin Sinclair, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Junior.

Players to Watch

David Miller

Without Faf du Plessis or AB de Villiers, David Miller is the most experienced player in this format for South Africa, so it is not hard to see his importance in this series. With a few games behind him in the recently rescheduled and completed PSL in Abu Dhabi, where he made 116 runs in 3 matches with an average of 38.66 and strike rate of 139.75, he is a man in form. Outside of Quinton De Kock, he is arguably the only player in the side that can clear the boundary on a consistent basis, which is crucial in this format.

Interestingly, having played only three more matches, JP Duminy is the only South African player who has more sixes than Miller but Miller’s strike rate is 140.53 to Duminy’s 126.24.

Dwaine Pretorius

Few could argue against the idea that Pretorius is the best all-rounder in the squad in this format now and that he has overtaken Phehlukwayo in that role. He had an excellent series versus Pakistan in SA earlier in the year where he averaged 10.50 with the ball with an economy rate of 7. His career numbers with the bat are in some quarters understated but averaging  31.80 with a strike rate of 165.63, it is impressive. Every team needs an x-factor player and with Phehlukwayo’s loss in form, Dwaine could easily be that guy.

Lungi Ngidi

Lungi is easily the best bowler in South Africa in this format and after a very impressive CSA T20 Challenge where he was 3rd in wickets taken with an economy of 5.76, he is raring to go. It is his variety in pace that includes an excellent slower ball that gets batters in difficulty. He is a serious wicket-taker in the middle overs but less so at the death, which is something he will want to improve on. That said, when South Africa need a wicket, he is invariably the one the team go to.

Shimron Hetmyer

Shemron has had problems with his fitness levels recently and even been dropped because of that, as he failed a fitness test recently, but it seems he has heeded that warning. This is good news for the West Indies as he is one of the most exciting cricketers in the T20 format and one of the first names when it comes to T20 franchises picking their best players. He has enormous potential and power in his forearms, which gives him great ability to clear the boundary with ease. He is one to watch in this series if he can remain fit and focused on the job of scoring runs.

Kieron Pollard

New T20 Keiron Pollard is a magnificent cricketer with real x-factor and exceptional ability with bat and ball. He has also made his presence felt since taking on the captaincy when batting, where his average has gone from 21.50 to 37.40 and with the ball he has seen similar improvement with good series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand earlier in the year. He is also one of those players who has the ability to clear the boundary with relative ease no matter where one bowls. He is in 11th place among the leading 6 hitters in the world.

Nicholas Pooran

Pooran, like Hetmyer, has had dealings off the field that have meant his international career stagnated somewhat. But while this coming World Cup will probably see the end of Gayle, Pollard and Dwayne Bravo it could well be the making of 25-year-old Pooran. He is very much one of the new age of cricketers who focus on white-ball cricket and playing all around the ground is a strength of his. He has always had the ability to score quickly and all around the wicket, so he may well be worth keeping an eye on during this series. Being a wicket-keeper will certainly help his growth in the game.

Grenada Pitch Info

It is one of the lesser-used grounds in the Caribbean as Grenada has only hosted three Test matches, twenty-four One Day Internationals and one international T20 in which Ireland beat the West Indies by 4 runs in January of this year. It last played host to Caribbean Premier League matches in 2014, so apart from that single game against Ireland, it is hard to judge how the pitch will play during the T20s, although it will have to play better than it did at the Tests at the Darren Sammy Stadium with the inconsistent bounce it had. It is one of the lesser-used grounds in the Caribbean.

Final Thoughts

The current ICC T20 rankings may be in South Africa’s favour with Rassie Van Der Dussen at six in the batting list and Tabriaz Shamsi at number one in the bowling list but on current form, performances and if most people were selecting a best of both squads, the West Indies selections would outshine the ones of the South Africans. Thus, West Indies must be slight favourites when it comes to the T20 format.

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