The West Indies ODI Tri-Series is ready to go on Friday with South Africa and Australia and the tournament opener will witness hosts West Indies take on South Africa at Providence Stadium, Guyana. Australia, the 50-over World Champions will enter the fray on Sunday to challenge the hosts.
The Caribbean carnival, which stretches across June, will offer some high-octane clashes as all the 3 teams play each other thrice at three different venues. The first three games will take place at the Providence Stadium in Guyana, while they again face each other in St. Kitts and finally Barbados.
West Indies might have enjoyed a memorable year, completing an unbelievable treble — winning the ICC Under-19 World Cup along with the women’s and men’s titles at the ICC World Twenty20 hosted by India — but will begin this tri-series as the underdog when they take on South Africa in the first match of the triangular One-Day International series.
Wind: 4 mph from NE
Cloud Cover: 50%
Match Starts: 13:00 local/17:00 GMT/22:30 IST
The Caribbeans start this tournament as underdogs simply because of their performance and unpredictability. Young captain Jason Holder is waiting for a huge challenge yet again but will be relieved with the return of star all-rounder Kieron Pollard and mystery spinner Sunil Narine.
The hosts are well short on ODI game, having played almost seven months ago when they lost to Sri Lanka back in November. They practiced with two warm-up matches against a Barbados XI without their captain and several other players who were at the IPL, and they lost both the matches.
Pollard returns to the ODI squad for the starting eleven since the controversial rejection of the India tour in October 2014. However, his recent selection has been marred with severe criticism as some of his teammates took a funny dig at him. But it’s also a proven fact that Pollard on his day can thrash even the best of bowling attacks and the team would definitely hope to see the explosive all-rounder return back to form quickly.
Meanwhile, Narine will play for West Indies for the first time in more than six months after another period of rehab as his bowling action was found to be illegal during the Sri-Lanka tour. With a modified action, Narine was not that much effective in the recently concluded IPL for Kolkata Knight Riders. But in the Caribbean islands, he would eagerly wait to trouble the Aussies and the Proteas with his mystery spin.
The WICB had again reignited controversies when they overlooked the likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy and Dwayne Bravo —the core members of the World T20 title-winning squad. The council has instead opted for a mix of the young and experienced team.
Pollard and Narine should slot straight into the XI, which will strengthen both departments of West Indies’ game. Darren Bravo will headline the batting line-up with World T20 hero Carlos Brathwaite while Jerome Taylor and Jason Holder will shoulder the pace attack.
West Indies Predicted Line-up : 1 Johnson Charles,
2 Andre Fletcher,
3 Darren Bravo,
4 Marlon Samuels,
5 Kieron Pollard,
6 Denesh Ramdin (wk),
7 Carlos Brathwaite,
8 Jonathan Carter,
9 Jason Holder (capt),
10 Sunil Narine,
11 Jerome Taylor
If lack of experience in its ranks and rustiness are a major concern for West Indies, South Africa will need to be wary about fatigue. Eleven of their players took part in the recently concluded IPL as compared to only four West Indies players from the current team. But the good thing is most of those eleven players are coming into this tournament with some decent form.
With Amla, Quinton de Kock, and AB de Villers forming a lethal top order, it’s the bowlers that could hold the key. Though Guyana last hosted an international in 2013, spinners have won the man of the match award in the past two ODIs at the Providence Stadium and the South Africans could opt for both Imran Tahir and Aaron Phangiso on Friday.
Dale Steyn was rested for this series in preparation for the Test season. That means Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada, and Kyle Abbott will have to carry the attack.
Faf du Plessis has been ruled out of this tournament opener as he recovers from a broken finger which gives Rilee Rossouw a great opportunity to prove his worth. Farhaan Behardien will most likely keep the No. 6 position and Chris Morris could be selected ahead of Wayne Parnell for the allrounder’s role. With Morne Morkel back, South Africa may have to choose between an extra seamer in Kyle Abbott or a second spinner in Aaron Phangiso to complete their bowling attack.
South Africa Predicted Line-up :
1 Hashim Amla,
2 Quinton de Kock (wk),
3 Rilee Rossouw,
4 AB de Villiers (capt),
5 JP Duminy,
6 Farhaan Behardien,
7 Chris Morris,
8 Kagiso Rabada,
9 Morne Morkel,
10 Kyle Abbott/Aaron Phangiso,
11 Imran Tahir