Roston Chase
West Indies' Roston Chase, who began as a Test player, could be the steadying influence in their cavalier middle order on Tuesday. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: For defending champions West Indies, the only way to go after a nightmarish opener against England could be up when they take on South Africa in the afternoon match of ICC T20 World Cup at Dubai International Stadium on Tuesday.

The opening day of Super-12 fixtures of the showpiece on Saturday saw both these Group I teams start with defeats, but the 55 all out would surely go down as a major embarrassment for the two-time champions. Kieron Pollard’s men will have to shake it off their system quickly and rethink their gameplan against the Proteas - who have enough firepower in their bowling in pace aces Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje and chinaman bowler Tabraiz Shamsi.

A day game means the dew factor, which helps the ball come onto the bat better for the chasing team, will be absent - making it a more even-playing field than the evening games. The batting roster of West Indies may wear an impressive look with the likes of openers Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer and of course captain Kieron Pollard - but they cannot afford to be on a suicide mission again like Saturday.


The batting conditions in UAE demand a greater application with 150-plus being a par score, and at least two batsmen will have to assume the anchors’ role like the way Marlon Samuels did during both their triumphs in 2012 and 2016. It’s certainly worth a thought to bring in Roston Chase in the middle order as he has the required mindset and can bowl few overs of tight off-spin if required.

The West Indies team management may be in a big quandary about Chris Gayle as the ‘Universe Boss,’ now 42, had been struggling right from the recent IPL season. The slow and low bounce of the wickets here may come in the way of him getting under the ball to hit those towering sixes - and it won’t be a surprise to find the biggest ambassador of this format of cricket in the dugout sooner than later.

South Africa, who beat the Caribbeans 3-2 in a bi-lateral T20 series earlier this year, also came up with an underwhelming performance against Australia in the first game when they were all out for an inadequate total of 118 in Abu Dhabi. None of their batters, except Aiden Makram, showed the staying power though they have the ammunition to do better. The opening pair of Quinton de Kock and captain Temba Bavuma pack enough firepower to give their team a flying start in the powerplay in Dubai.

It’s still early days in the tournament but with the tough group that they find themselves in, both will be desperate to log in full points on Tuesday if they have to nurse any semi-final hopes.

Catch the match

South Africa vs West Indies (Super-12)

Venue – Dubai International Cricket Stadium

Time – 2 pm UAE.