After enjoying the highs of two back to back wins and taking an impressive 2-1 series lead, South Africa were brought down to earth by a resurgent West Indies side in the fourth T20I in Grenada on Thursday (July 2). The visitors suffered a 21-run defeat after failing to chase down West Indies’ score of 167/6.
Either side of wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock and spin twins George Linde, Tabraiz Shamsi, the tourists were found wanting and got subjected to a disappointing loss, which has set up the decider for Saturday (July 3).
Heading into the series showdown, there are speculations around the South Africa Playing XI and whether they’ll trust their troops after a defeat or stick to the combination that gave them two impressive wins in the closely fought 2nd and 3rd T20Is.
Probable South Africa Playing XI
1. Quinton de Kock
In-form De Kock is at the top of the run-charts for the ongoing series after four innings. The consistent left-hand batsman has struck 195 runs at an average of 48.75 and strike-rate of 141.30, including two half-centuries. His innings of 60 in the last match was an exceptional effort in Proteas’ eventually unsuccessful run-chase.
2. Janneman Malan
Keeping in mind Reeza Hendricks’ poor form, Janneman Malan could take his place as South Africa’s second opener at the top. Malan has played nine previous T20Is for the Proteas at a strike-rate of 132.40. The 25-year-old talented right-hand batsman has scored 1,571 runs in his overall T20 career at an average of 32.06 and strike-rate of 136.37.
3. Temba Bavuma
South Africa’s newly appointed limited-overs captain, Bavuma, has had only one score of any substance in the T20I series so far. He struck an important 46 off 33 balls in the second T20I last Sunday, but has collected only 76 runs in his series tally. Bavuma will be hoping to stand resurrected and play an innings befitting his status as the team’s captain.
4. Aiden Markram
Having maintained consistency and explosiveness through the home T20Is against Pakistan earlier in the year, there was a sense of anticipation around Markram ahead of the West Indies series. But the elegant right-hander has so far managed just 43 runs off his 2 innings at a strike-rate of 113.15. He will be eyeing a quick return to form and play a knock of significance in the series finale.
5. Rassie van der Dussen
A half-century in the first T20I and a useful thirty in the 3rd game shall keep Van der Dussen confident about his game and place in the South Africa Playing XI even as he is headed into the decider after a failure in the last match. Van der Dussen has an impressive T20I record to his name after 24 matches, with 724 runs at an average of 40.22 and strike-rate of 137.64.
6. David Miller
An ever-threatening power-hitter, Miller has found life difficult getting the ball off the square in the ongoing series. The experienced left-hander has managed just 34 runs from his four innings. That, however, doesn’t mean Miller isn’t a guaranteed starter for the decider, considering his overall ability with the bat. South Africa will hope that their big player can come to the party on what will be a big occasion.
7. Bjorn Fortuin
Keeping in mind the spin-friendly conditions in Grenada, the addition of an extra tweaker to the South Africa Playing XI without compromising the batting depth could be valuable for South Africa. And that’s where Bjorn Fortuin might come into the playing XI in place of an extra seamer in Lungi Ngidi, who has really struggled to keep the run-flow in check through this series. Fortuin has played seven previous T20Is for South Africa.
8. George Linde
Linde, the left-arm spinner, has been a vital cog in South Africa’s wheels. He has taken 5 wickets from his four innings in the series at just 7.07 runs per over, including a spell of 2/16 in the last match. The all-round cricketer also adds to the depth of South Africa’s batting, with a career T20I strike-rate of 140.27.
9. Tabraiz Shamsi
Shamsi has only carried forward his excellent form in the last couple of years through the ongoing series. The left-arm wrist-spinner has controlled the middle-overs brilliantly for South Africa, hardly giving away a thing besides chipping in with important breakthroughs. He has taken 6 wickets from 4 innings at a jaw-dropping economy rate of just 4.31.
10. Kagiso Rabada
Rabada’s struggles as a death-overs bowler have ruined his overall numbers for the series – economy rate of 10.42 from 4 innings with 5 wickets – but the ace quick is a dangerous prospect at his best for opposition batsmen. He will be determined to revive himself with the series honours up for grabs.
11. Anrich Nortje
Rabada’s pace partner Nortje has had a better series than him so far. The tall quick has given away runs at only 7.00 per over and taken 4 wickets from as many innings, including the best of 2/29. Nortje has certainly been very impressive for South Africa since his debut a couple of years back.