South Africa vs West Indies, 18th Match, Group 1, Dubai (DSC), Oct 26 2021
Background of the Clash
Few would have expected batters to dominate in the T20 World Cup, given the pitches in the UAE and Oman. But even fewer would have expected South Africa and West Indies will be defeated by such huge margins in their opening matches. So the two line-ups will aim to stage a strong comeback when they clash in Dubai on Tuesday.
Australia’s attack bowled with quality on Saturday, but not enough to justify limiting South Africa to 118/9. Similarly, while England’s bowlers pack an impressive set of skills, they wouldn’t have expected to dismiss the West Indians for 55 in 14.2 overs. Batting conditions weren’t a cakewalk, as evidenced by Australia needing all but two deliveries of their 20 overs to reach the target.
But Bangladesh’s 171/4 in Sharjah on Sunday looked good until Sri Lanka replied with 172/5, and no one would have predicted Pakistan’s 10-wicket triumph in Dubai on Sunday immediately after India had posted 151/7.
So while the slow and sluggish surfaces are clearly challenging batters, and will continue to be so throughout the tournament, the only option is for them to meet that challenge. Or at least to do so better than South Africa and West Indies managed on Saturday. Kagiso Rabada had a hearty laugh when it was pointed out to him that his team’s batters had at least performed better than the Windies’: South Africa’s total was more than double that of their next opponents’. Rabada deserved a chuckle – his 19 not out batting at No. 9 was his team’s second-highest score.
Poor Batting Display by both Teams in Opening Match
That West Indies’ major suffering against England was majorly due to spin will no doubt inform South Africa’s approach. In a combined 6.2 overs, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid took 6/19 – usually when their victims were looking to attack recklessly. It would not be hyperbole to say that Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj are easily as good, if not better, than the English spinners.
Unpacking the South Africans’ poor stay at the crease is more complex. They shambled into the sunset thanks to a strange mix of freakishness – Quinton de Kock was bowled by a delivery that bounced high above him after he had edged it into the ground – fine bowling – Josh Hazlewood’s away-swinger that had Rassie van der Dussen caught behind was a thing of beauty – comedy – Keshav Maharaj fell over and was run out as a consequence of ignoring to wear full spikes – and questionable shots – Heinrich Klaasen closed the face of his bat and blooped a leading edge to backward point. Consequently, the Windies would be forgiven for thinking the South Africans could help them get the job done.
South Africa’s bowlers will be confident of building on Saturday’s performance, which was well supported by their fielders. While the West Indian bowlers and fielders didn’t have a fair chance to measure themselves having been given so few runs to defend, they would have taken confidence from removing four of England’s top five inside seven overs and with only 39 runs scored.
It’s too early for either team to panic but whoever loses will be in a difficult position, especially with strong subcontinental opposition to come.