West Indies and South Africa face off in the fifth and final T20I on Saturday, July 3 in Grenada, after battling hard for four games and ending up tied at 2-2.
South Africa put up a lackluster 160-run total in the series opener, which the Caribbean batting lineup easily scaled down owing to Evin Lewis’ powerful efforts. Despite the fact that the Proteas didn’t bat any better in the next two games, they produced all-round bowling performances to stymie the West Indian surge and take a dominating series lead.
In the second and third T20Is, South Africa defended scores of 167 and 166, respectively, with the West Indies batting order faltering while attempting to build together partnerships. Kieron Pollard, the home captain, talked about keeping to their aggressive batting strategy, which paid off in the last game.
Finally given the opportunity to establish a total, West Indies scored 167 before holding South Africa to 146, forcing the series to a decider despite the loss of Fabian Allen to a shoulder injury.
With so much on the line in the build-up to the T20 World Cup, we should be in for another exciting match in Grenada.
West Indies vs South Africa 5th T20I Match Prediction: Who will come out on top in Grenada?
🗣 “A good wine; he keeps getting better.
He’s been a sensational bowling leader for this group.”
— Windies Cricket (@windiescricket) July 1, 2021
For the most part, the bowlers have dominated the series. Dwayne Bravo has bowled incredibly well at the death for the West Indies, picking up nine wickets with his combination of slower balls. Obed McCoy, who has eight wickets to his name and has taken on duty with aplomb, has backed him up.
While there hasn’t been a clear-cut star performance with the ball for South Africa, a number of bowlers have stepped up when the scenario called for it. In the third T20I, Tabraiz Shamsi produced a Man of the Match performance, while Anrich Nortje has been outstanding throughout the series. The Proteas will be confident of progress coming into the last game because Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada haven’t hit their stride consistently.
Meanwhile, two wholly different hitting lineups have demonstrated the benefits of their respective approaches. While South Africa has been cautious and willing to accept a par total, the West Indies have tried to pound their way out of tight circumstances only to discover that such attempts are lethal.
However, things are much better ahead of the series finale, demonstrating that West Indies’ method has some merit given their power. South Africa will not know what hit them if even one of the playing XI’s big-hitting superstars shows up.
West Indies will almost certainly find some motivation in the decider. Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons have always gotten the team off to a good start, while Chris Gayle isn’t in great shape but has a few cameos to his credit at No. 3. In the previous game, Kieran Pollard returned to form, and it appears like Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer will follow suit. Because Allen is going to be unavailable, the West Indies may explore putting Jason Holder back into the team.
Meanwhile, South Africa will need a full batting performance to defeat the West Indies on their home turf in a historic victory. There is no doubt that Rassie van der Dussen, Quinton de Kock, and skipper Temba Bavuma must score. In the absence of Faf du Plessis, David Miller will have to stand up.
Do the resources and gameplan in place in South Africa allow it to counter the West Indies’ persistent aggression? Probably. But, with the series on the line, can they deliver an all-around performance? It’s difficult to see them doing so.
Even if a South Africa victory is possible, the chances of a West Indies victory considerably outnumber those of a South Africa victory. The hosts might take a huge stride towards defending their title with 10 more T20Is to go before the T20 World Cup.