WI, S Africa in World Cup dress rehearsal
CENTURION, South Africa (CMC):
West Indies play South Africa in the fifth and final one-day international (ODI) match today, eager to prove that their victory in the fourth ODI was no fluke, and with dreams of avenging their series defeat when the two teams meet in next month's World Cup.
First ball in the day/night match is 1:30 p.m. (7:30 a.m. Eastern Caribbean Time/6:30 a.m. Jamaica time).
West Indies, who were blown away in the first three matches to concede the series, stormed back in sensational fashion to beat South Africa in the fourth ODI at Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
"I don't think I have had a World Cup where South Africa have not been favourites, and this time, it's no different," said West Indies all-rounder, Darren Sammy.
"But in a World Cup, if you play three good matches in the first round, you are into the knockout stages, and with that, cricket is played on the day and anything is possible."
The Caribbean men would be encouraged by their victory in the last match, recovering from 73 for five as Marlon Samuels (68) and Darren Sammy (51) added 93 before all-rounder AndrÈ Russell scored 64 not out off 40 balls to stun the home side with nine deliveries and a wicket in hand.
"We had a meeting amongst ourselves and guys laid everything on the table," said Sammy in refe-rence to their consecutive defeats.
"The captain asked us to show some pride and man up, and we did that in the fourth game."
South Africa and West Indies will be looking to finish the series on a high, with both teams likely to use the final game as a dress rehearsal since it will be their last match before the all-important ICC Cricket World Cup.
The two teams meet on February 27, and according to the former captain, they will have to deal with different expectations.
"When it comes to the World Cup, it's a different atmosphere, a different venue and more pressure. We all know when it comes to World Cup, once we get to knockout stages, we tend to move on. Hopefully, we can do something special," he said.
"The West Indies people need us to do something special."
West Indies are likely to go into the game with an unchanged team since there are still injury concerns for Lendl Simmons (finger) and Sulieman Benn (back).
South Africa may bring back the experienced quartet of Hashim Amla, Imran Tahir, Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn, all of whom were rested for the Port Elizabeth game.