SA, Windies to battle for semifinal glory
With the semifinal slot up for grabs, South Africa and the West Indies would be locked in what is a virtual quarterfinal when they take on each other in their last Group B match of the ICC Champions Trophy on Friday.
South Africa lost their opening game to India before getting the better of Pakistan, results which are similar to what the West Indies have managed so far in the tournament.
India are already through to the semifinals after two wins out of two, while Pakistan are out of contention. That leaves the Proteas and the West Indies locked in a battle for the second semifinal spot.
South Africa have got a shot in the arm ahead of the crucial match with pacer Dale Steyn returning to fitness. He bowled in the nets yesterday without any discomfort after being laid low by a side strain. 'Dale is progressing quite well. He came through his net session without any discomfort,' Mohammed Moosajee, South Africa’s team manager, who is also a doctor.
As far as the batting prowess goes, both teams seem evenly matched even though the Chris Gayle factor could tilt the scales in the West Indies’ favour if the swashbuckler comes up with one of his hurricane knocks.
For South Africa, Hashim Amla’s form remains crucial as he would be expected to play the sheet-anchor’s role. The likes of A B de Villiers, Faf du Plessis and J P Duminy are the gamechangers, who can accelerate on a solid start. On the bowling front, South Africa have the distinct edge, especially if Steyn returns to the squad on Friday. Batting looks even for both sides as they have plenty of fire power.