Windies ready to unleash T20 firepower
South Africa, (CMC):
A reinforced West Indies outfit takes on South Africa without some of its leading players, in the first of a three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series at Newlands today.
"It's a format that we have done well in and we are looking to continue in that way. We are very confident," declared Captain Darren Sammy.
"We have won a World Cup three years ago, and we believe we have some of the best players in the world in that format. We have shown how well we can play."
West Indies, who are without the ICC's No.1 and No.2-ranked T20 bowlers, Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine, are packing more firepower than they did when they lost to the South Africans two-nil in the three-Test series, which concluded this week.
Chris Gayle's return
Chris Gayle's return is expected to be a massive boost while Kieron Pollard and Lendl Simmons will bolster a batting line-up that struggled against Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, and Vernon Philander in the Test series.
"Are you ready for me?" Gayle asked the media as he walked past journalists at the end of the third Test.
He missed the Test series with a back injury, but was previously playing for a South African franchise, the Lions, in the local T20 tournament, scoring the competition's first hundred and finishing the fifth-highest run scorer overall.
West Indies, on paper, look the better side, with the likes of Gayle, Simmons, Pollard, Russell, and Sammy being renowned the world over for their prowess in the 20-over format.
South Africa, however, will be without the services of AB de Villiers, Morne Morkel Vernon Philander and Steyn, their best bowler.
The Proteas will rely heavily on skipper Faf du Plessis, who has described West Indies as "the dominant T20 team in the world at the moment".
David Miller is expected to provide some fireworks in a batting order that looks weak while their pace attack will be led by Kyle Abbott, Wayne Parnell, and Marchant de Lange.
West Indies and South Africa have not met in T20 cricket since 2010 and the visitors have only won one of their six encounters in the shortest format, at Port Elizabeth back in 2007.
"Here in Cape town, I have seen a lot of ads about Protefire, so I guess Cape Town will be blazing and somebody will come out victorious, and hopefully, that is the Maroon Fire," said Sammy.