WILLS INTERNATIONAL CUP,
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South Africa v West Indies - Preview
The dream India vs Sri Lanka final may not have materialised, but on the basis of performances in this tournament, the West Indies and South Africa are the two best sides, and a game of the highest quality can be expected to decide the Wills International Cup.
South Africa will start as favourites, not least because the West Indies have just played two tiring games, whilst they have had a day off, after a reduced overs contest. However, they do have some injury scares. Dale Benkenstein is a major concern, and Lance Klusener was expected to fly in from South Africa late last night as his replacement. Jacques Kallis, the hero of the semi final victory over Sri Lanka is also a doubt, suffering from a foot injury, but he is expected to take his place in the side nevertheless.
The West Indians will remain unchanged, their only worry having been Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who suffered, not for the first time in his career, from cramp during his match-winning knock against India.
The pitch has been under covers for fear of overnight rain, and there will certainly be some moisture in the wicket early on for the fast bowlers to take advantage of. At the same time, as was evinced in yesterdays semi final, the spinners will have some joy later on in the match, so there will be something in it for everyone.
The key to the match, cliched as it may sound, will lie in how well the sides are able to utilise the first 15 overs. The West Indians, with Philo Wallace in the best form of his fledgling international career have shown that they are no slouches, and the South Africans bat so deep that they are able to shuffle their batting order around in order to ensure a great start.
On the bowling side, if Mervyn Dillon and Reon King are not too tired from last nights efforts, they have the capability to tie the South African openers down, but whether the likes of Kallis, Dawson or Rindel can do the same to the West Indians remains to be seen.
A great contest on the cards then, and a near-capacity crowd should be in for a brilliant day's cricket.