West Indies look to senior players for revival against confident South Africa

© Cricket West Indies

Even though they started the tour of West Indies as favourites, the last bilateral ODI series South Africa won against the Caribbean side was in 2009. Since then, they have drawn the series thrice and lost twice before sealing the ongoing five-match series with an eight-wicket win in the third ODI.

This South African side is far more balanced than the ones that toured the Caribbean in the past, and their key players have been in top form for a while. Both Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt have come good so far, forming one of the most successful opening partnership in the world. They have made two half-centuries each, with Lee being the leading run-scorer so far in the series and South Africa would want them to continue their good form.

However, since they have batted second in all three matches, and the middle order comprising of Sune Luus, Dane van Niekerk, Marizanne Kapp and Mignon du Preez is yet to be tested. With the series sealed, it will be interesting to see their approach and the batting order if South Africa gets to bat first in the final two matches.

The tourists have been clinical with the ball, especially Shabnim Ismail and Kapp have rattled the West Indies top order, providing early breakthroughs. Ayabonga Khaka is the leading wicket-taker with six wickets in three matches, ensuring that they capitalise on the start with regular scalps in the middle overs.

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The team management would want the trio to remain fit and be at their best in the lead up to the World Cup. With Luus and van Niekerk complementing them well, South Africa have very little to worry about their bowling department.

On the other hand, the biggest worry for the hosts is that their experienced players haven’t risen to the occasion to put up significant performances with the bat in the absence of Stafanie Taylor. The poor form of Hayley Matthews is hurting West Indies as she has scored only 177 runs in eight ODIs this year despite scoring a century against Pakistan earlier in July. The team management would be hoping for a turnaround before the series ends.

Deandra Dottin has looked good so far with the bat, managing to convert the start she got in the third ODI into a fifty. However, Dottin had very little support from the other batters and that meant they eventually collapsed in a heap once she was dismissed just when it looked like she would take the attack to the opposition.

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Qiana Joseph, Karishma Ramharack and Chedean Nation have been rested ahead of the fourth ODI, with Sheneta Grimmond, Reniece Boyce and Chinelle Henry will take their place in the squad. Rashada Williams showed glimpses of what she could do, but she will have to contribute more with the bat for West Indies to have any chance of coming back in this series.

Although West Indies bowling has not been penetrative when armed with the task of defending low totals, it would be interesting to see how well they do if they get a chance to bowl first. Stand-in skipper Anisa Mohammed’s tactics with the new ball in the third ODI were particularly impressive. However, dropping some catches in the field did not help their cause.

While West Indies would be hoping to make a statement in the fourth ODI, it would take an immense effort from one of their star players to make that happen against this formidable South Africa. Can they do it? Or will South Africa run over West Indies yet again?

Squads

West Indies: Anisa Mohammed (c), Deandra Dottin (vc), Aaliyah Alleyne, Shakera Selman, Shamilia Connell, Shabika Gajnabi, Chinelle Henry, Qiana Joseph, Kycia Knight, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Chedean Nation, Karishma Ramharack

South Africa: Dane van Niekerk (c), Sune Luus, Ayabonga Khaka, Shabnim Ismail, Laura Wolvaardt, Trisha Chetty, Sinalo Jafta, Tazmin Brits, Marizanne Kapp, Nondumiso Shangase, Lizelle Lee, Nonkululeko Mlaba, Mignon du Preez, Chloe Tryon, Nadine de Klerk, Lara Goodall, Tumi Sekhukhune, Masabata Klaas