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West Indies' 'famed' hard hitters hoping to fire up campaign vs SA

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Dubai, Oct 26 (IANS) Both South Africa and West Indies would be looking for a ‘fresh start’ in the ICC T20 World Cup ‘Super 12’ game after the ignominy of losing the opening matches in bizarre fashion to Australia and England respectively.

While defending champions West Indies were hammered by England in what was perhaps the worst show by the Kieron Pollard-led side in T20 World Cups, getting bundled out for just 55 runs, Australia, riding on the heroics of Marcus Stoinis, defeated the Proteas with just two balls remaining.

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Having both endured opening-match losses at the tournament, the two sides meet in Dubai later on Tuesday, with the loser staring down the prospects of falling too far behind in the semifinal race.

Desperate to catch up in their respective campaigns, both sides will look for improvements on the batting side, curtailed by opposition bowling in their first-match efforts.

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Restricted to 118/9 in their 20 overs against Australia, South Africa’s performance was somewhat helped by a confident effort on the field, taking the match to its final over in a five-wicket defeat. While Temba Bavuma’s men cushioned a potentially crippling net run rate blow, the same cannot be said for Kieron Pollard’s West Indies, who were crushed by England in just 8.2 overs.

Having seemingly recovered from losing two early wickets, a collapse of 28/8 pushed West Indies out of the game, unable to hit back against the English attack.

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With not enough on the board to defend, Pollard almost used the England innings to allow Akeal Hosein to find a rhythm at the bowling crease. A late inclusion to the squad after injury forced Fabian Allen out of the tournament, Hosein found his groove, taking two excellent catches off his own bowling to finish with figures of 2/24.

Between the two sides in the Tuesday fixture, however, it is South Africa who have the edge. The teams faced off in a five-match T20I series earlier this year in the Caribbean, with the tourists claiming a 3-2 series win.

South Africa’s batting mainstay, Quinton de Kock, could likely shape his team’s assault. In six innings against the West Indies, de Kock has averaged 50.33, with a strike rate into the 130s, including three half-centuries.

For the West Indies, Andre Russell could be their key man as the all-rounder has conceded 9.57 runs an over against the Proteas. Should the West Indies lose early wickets, Russell’s countering ability with the bat may prove to be decisive.

West Indies could likely bring in Roston Chase and Andre Fletcher, though Pollard will likely enter the second game with the same XI despite the heavy defeat.

Possible South Africa XI: Quinton de Kock, Temba Bavuma (c), Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje, Tabraiz Shamsi.

Possible West Indies XI: Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Kieron Pollard (c), Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Hayden Walsh Jr, Obed McCoy, Ravi Rampaul.

–IANS

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