It’s been a funny past couple of days for these two teams. For West Indies, their bubble burst against Australia, but only just, while for South Africa we found a very good reason why the team were as jittery as they had been after it was revealed that A B de Villiers had offered to come out of retirement for the World Cup only for team management to say no to it. It was probably the wrong decision, given their lack of batting strength, but for some reason they preferred players who hadn’t retired than someone who had. Momentum has shifted for both teams, with West Indies losing some, while South Africa gained some. The question is whether it has shifted enough for South Africa to get over the line in a match which, pre-tournament, they would have been massive favourites to win.
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Five Fearless Predictions:
(1) West Indies will go bouncer happy
It worked against Australia, reducing the reigning champions to 4 wickets down inside 8 overs, so chances are that they will do it again against South Africa. They might even play a 6th fast bowler, as Ashley Nurse didn’t do a whole lot as the sole spinner. If only they had a fast bowling all-rounder, like Keiron Pollard or Dwayne Bravo, that’d be perfect. Whatever their team make-up might be, we can expect a whole lot of bouncers, especially if South Africa bat first.
(2) South Africa will be angry
Dale Steyn has been sent home, Lungi Ngidi may still be out due to injury, Hashim Amla had concussion, and now they find out that they could have easily had A B de Villiers there. All of this, on top of a 0-3 scoreline, are going to make them angry. The fact that some people are calling them minnows is going to just make them furious. So expect some furious bowling, and furious batting as well. Think a rain of 6s and stumps being shattered. It’s the kind of thing that could make things very, very entertaining. They need to win this one too, and won’t want to go down without a fight.
(3) Jason Holder is going to shine
Few people noticed that it was Jason Holder who held it all together for West Indies and nearly got them over the line. He has a level head, his batting is improving every day, and he is still a very good bowler.
(4) This one is going to be entertaining
No matter who wins and no matter what the margin, this is going to be fun to watch. Maybe not as good as the Australia vs West Indies game, but you never know. This one could go to the final over, the final ball even. It could be nailbiting.
(5) I want South Africa to win
The fairy tale starts here. If West Indies win, then it is goodbye to South Africa, and that’s not fair. If South Africa wins, then the fairy tale is alive, and we could have a repeat of Pakistan in 1992 and Australia in 1999. They should be fired up. They should be winning. Whether they do or not is another issue entirely. West Indies will probably win here. West Indies should win. But I’d like South Africa to.