Proteas need a win against the West Indies

No Dale, no AB, no wins. Winds of change blow for SA with Gayle next

Three straight defeats, an injury crisis and distractions off the field contributed to a week from hell for South Africa at the 2019 Cricket World Cup. With just six matches left to play, the Proteas cannot afford anything less than a win against the West Indies at the Rose Bowl on Monday.

South Africa

Injuries to Lungi Ngidi and Dale Steyn, who is out of the tournament due to a troublesome shoulder, forced South Africa to play two spinners in the six-wicket loss to India. Neither Tabraiz Shamsi nor Imran Tahir tested the Indians, which could prompt another rethink in the bowling lineup with Steyn’s replacement Beuran Hendricks and all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius in the wings.

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The problem that captain Faf du Plessis faces is that this uncertainty of selection also permeates the batting lineup, with neither Hashim Amla nor Aiden Markram looking convincing at the top. The middle order has been exposed in all three matches, a situation that is not helped by a bombshell report that star batsman AB de Villiers had asked before the CWC to be considered for selection despite having retired from international duty.

West Indies

The West Indies are a far-better balanced outfit, with a powerful middle order of all-rounders including big-hitting Andre Russell and Carlos Brathwaite, who receive ample support from captain fantastic Jason Holder. The likes of shotmakers Shai Hope and Nicholas Pooran represent a new generation of calypso cricketers, while the peerless Chris Gayle can win a game with the bat if he bats for any significant amount of time.

The men from the Caribbean smashed Pakistan in their opener but the defeat on Thursday to Australia will hurt. Australia were left reeling at 79/5 but recovered to post near 300 and the West Indies run chase, which looked ever so comfortable, came to a stuttering halt due to a silly runout and some dubious shot selection.

South Africa key player

By his high standards, Kagiso Rabada has had an average tournament so far. The fast bowler has the talent and skill but his execution has let him down and he knows it.

West Indies key player

Although Gayle’s 50 helped his side to an easy win over Pakistan, he failed to replicate this performance against Australia -- and which Gayle turns up on Monday could settle the result.

The South African fixtures in the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup are being broadcast to all DStv customers, from Premium to Easyview packages.

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