Windies aim for whitewash
DURBAN, South Africa (CMC):
West Indies, hoping for clean sweep and South Africa, desperate for a reversal of fortunes in limited overs cricket, play each other in the third and final of their three-match T20 International series at Durban today.
The Caribbean men, inspired by power hitting from fired-up Chris Gayle, has already clinched the series, while the South Africans are keen to end their poor run in this form of the game.
The match is not expected to be a dead rubber as South Africa seek to rebound from a tough period in limited-overs cricket after T20 and ODI series losses to Australia.
West Indies, on the other hand, have made a complete turnaround and are likely to go all out for revenge after a Test series loss in which they were mauled by the Proteas.
"It's not often that a team that is ranked below a top team whitewashes them, so that's the focus," said West Indies' team manager, Richie Richardson.
"We are not going to relax. We are saving the celebration for after the next match."
While West Indies boast probably the most powerful batting line-up in T20, only Gayle and Marlon Samuels have been the main run scorers, while the others are due for big scores.
Some attention is likely to focus on Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo, who are among players with the last chance to make an impact in the series. Both have been left out of the West Indies squad for the World Cup, an issue which has triggered a major debate in the Caribbean as well as the cricket world.
revamped team likely
With a hectic playing schedule ahead, Captain Darren Sammy is likely to announce a revamped team which could rest Gayle and include Andre Fletcher for Denesh Ramdin and Carlos Brathwaite for Jason Holder.
Justin Ontong will skipper South Africa, their third captain this year after Hashim Amla led in Tests and Faf du Plessis took over for the T20s.
"I don't think we can play the way they play their cricket," said Ontong. "We have to look at our strengths and the way we go about our business. There was nothing wrong with the batting in both of the games. We just need more work on the bowling front."