SA in West Indies

SA looking for T20 redemption

2010-05-18 17:53
David Miller (Gallo Images)

St John's - South Africa will be looking to restore self belief, when they open their tour of the Caribbean with back-to-back Twenty20 Internationals against West Indies on Wednesday and Thursday at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground here.

Both the South Africans and their hosts will be looking to put behind them, the misery they endured at the just-concluded Twenty20 World Cup, which was staged over the last three weeks in the Caribbean.

The two sides entered the competition among the favourites for the title, but they both crashed out of the T20 World Cup at the Super Eight stage with a whimper, heralding a wave of criticism and cynicism throughout their respective nations.

Both sides have kept the bulk of the players that were chosen for the T20 World Cup, despite their failure to show any semblance of form.

South Africa have flown in uncapped left-hander David Miller into the limited-overs squad to replace the injured left-arm fast bowler Wayne Parnell.

The 20-year-old Miller comes to the Caribbean fresh from Bangladesh, where he took part in a three-nation, limited-overs series that involved the hosts' A-Team, as well as West Indies-A.

He scored 115 off just 60 balls against Bangladesh-A in Mirpur for the A-Team, which eventually won the Final of the series against the West Indians by five runs.

Miller averaged a staggering 53 during South Africa's last domestic Pro20 competition for the KwaZulu Natal Dolphins.

West Indies have trimmed their squad to 14, following the exclusion of left-hander Wavell Hinds.

He made a minor contribution to the side during the competition, and has offered very little to the side since his return to international cricket earlier this year for the tour of Australia.

South Africa have won three of the four T20Is that the two sides have contested over the last three years.

This includes a sensational eight-wicket victory in the first match between them during the T20 World Cup three years ago in Johannesburg, where the South Africans successfully chased a victory target of 206, following a first-ever T20I hundred from West Indies captain Chris Gayle.

Scattered showers are forecast, but it will be the on-field conditions at the VRCG, which will hold the centre of attraction.

The ground, which is named after Vivian Richards, the former West Indies captain and national hero, was cleared to host international matches again, following a one-year suspension.

Constructed by the Chinese Government prior to the island hosting matches in the 2007 World Cup, the VRCG was blacklisted last year, when a Test between West Indies and England was abandoned after just 10 balls because of an unfit outfield.

Since then, the outfield has been rehabilitated, and the drainage system has been improved to alleviate the problems that occurred previously when it rained heavily.

To gain international clearance, the ground has hosted a string of local matches in recent months, as well as the inaugural West Indies domestic first-class day/night match in January, when a pink cricket ball was trialled.

The pitch is likely to be typically easy-paced, like the surface at the Antigua Recreation Ground, the previous international ground in the island, located in the heart of the capital of St. John's.


West Indies (from): Chris Gayle (captain), Dwayne Bravo (v-captain), Sulieman Benn, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Andre Fletcher, Nikita Miller, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Darren Sammy, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Jerome Taylor

South Africa (from): Graeme Smith (captain), Jacques Kallis (v-captain), Hashim Amla, Loots Bosman, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, Abraham de Villiers, Jean-Paul Duminy, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Alviro Pietersen, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Roelof van der Merwe

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