Latest update March 23rd, 2023 12:59 AM
Jan 18, 2015 Sports
ESPNcricinfo – Neither a storm or a Gayle could stop South Africa taking the early lead in the one-day series. The transition from 20 to 50-over
cricket (then 33 overs) exposed West Indies’ problems of sustaining performances over a longer period, despite rain shortening the match. Gayle cut loose again for 41 off 24 balls, but it is much more possible to absorb such an onslaught in the longer game, especially with a decent total on the board, as was shown once he was removed to a wild hack when the run-rate was already ten an over.
However, with this series a chance to fine-tune ahead of the World Cup South Africa will also need to look critically at certain areas of their display. The batting started and ended poorly, beginning with ducks for Rilee Rossouw and Faf du Plessis, and then later there was a wobble of 5 for 34 when 300 should have been comfortably reached. Finishing an innings, with bat or ball, is not a new issue for the South Africans and though it did not prove decisive it remains an area of concern.
One significant plus-point for them, though, was the innings of David Miller. Given a chance higher up the order at No. 5 he savoured the opportunity to build an innings rather than have to dash from the start. He did not always seem comfortable against the short ball, but his driving matched that of Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers.
For West Indies, the fightback in the field came too late although the intensity with which they were closing out South Africa’s innings should be a marker for them to follow for a full 50 overs. With the bat, they need more from the likes of Gayle than thrilling cameos.
In the spotlight
It has been a difficult start to ODI cricket for Rilee Rossouw who has been dismissed for a duck as often as he has got off the mark in his ten matches.
He is currently filling in for the injured Quinton de Kock at the top of the order, but the way he played around a full delivery from Jerome Taylor – albeit at decent pace with some swing – did not instill vast confidence. Still, many a young player has been challenged in the early stages of their career and one of the fascinations is seeing how they respond.
West Indies’ best period of the opening match revolved around Andre Russell who played various hands in restricting South Africa. There was a catch to remove de Villers and a sharp bouncer to take JP Duminy’s top edge, but it was the neat footwork which found Farhaan Behardien short that was really eye-catching. Russell has been given a significant vote of confidence by this management team and is now a senior allrounder in the absence of Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard.
Minus the injured de Kock, South Africa played what can probably be considered their first-choice side in the opening match. They will be keen to give all the players an outing in the series, but may try to create daylight between them and West Indies before too many changes. Morne van Wyk is an option for the top of the
order, while Kyle Abbott or Wayne Parnell could interchange with another seamer.
West Indies’ batting looked light with debutant Jonathan Carter in the middle order around the clutch of allrounders so space may be needed for Lendl Simmons.
Pitch and conditions
A pacy pitch and a fast outfield: this venue is an ideal combination for one-day cricket. If the Twenty20 last week is anything to go by, we could be in for an epic at the Wanderers although South Africa’s pace attack will fancy having a greater say in proceedings. The threat of an afternoon storm is said to be fairly low.
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