Windies put South Africa misery behind them in Sydney

Friday, 27 February 2015 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

SYDNEY (Reuters): Jason Holder is hoping to lead a very different West Indies side into Friday’s World Cup clash against South Africa to that which was crushed 4-1 in a one-day international series last month. The Caribbean islanders crumbled to a defeat by whopping 131 runs at Centurion in a humiliating end to the five-match series, which was 23-year-old Holder’s first as captain. After impressive World Cup wins over Pakistan and Zimbabwe eased the pain of the shock upset at the hands of Ireland, however, West Indies will approach Friday’s match with something bordering on confidence. “It’s a different ballgame,” Holder told a news conference at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday. “We’re into the World Cup. Now that South Africa (tour)’s gone, we have two wins, so we have some momentum going into this game. So I think both teams are basically on a level playground.” The victory over Zimbabwe in Canberra on Tuesday was driven by a record-breaking innings of 215 from opener Chris Gayle and his partnership of 372 with Marlon Samuels, who pitched in with 133 not out. Gayle said after the match that a persistent back problem had contributed to his poor run of recent form and Holder, while not overly concerned about the chance of him missing out on the match, said the injury was being monitored. Just to see the 35-year-old Gayle back blasting sixes - a record equalling 16 of them on Tuesday - was a real fillip for the whole squad, he said. With concerns about the top order batting eased, Holder said he would be looking to his fellow bowlers to up their game against the Proteas after letting the Zimbabweans to within 73 runs of victory. Tall spinner Sulieman Benn, who missed the Zimbabwe match with a stiff back, would be a big help in controlling the run-scoring in the middle overs and could return for Friday’s Pool B clash.

Over-rate ban threat puts pressure on South Africa skipper

  SYDNEY (Reuters): The threat of a one-match ban for slow over rates is heaping extra pressure on AB de Villiers ahead of Friday’s World Cup clash against West Indies, the South Africa skipper admitted on Thursday. De Villiers was fined 20% of his match fee after South Africa were found to be one over short of their target during their 130-run drubbing at the hands of India last Sunday. One more minor infraction by his team in any of their remaining matches will see the Proteas forced to play without their leader and top batsman for one game. “I think all the captains are under pressure in this tournament. They’re very strict with that in this particular tournament you get one warning and then you’re suspended,” de Villiers told reporters at the Sydney Cricket Ground. “They’re a little bit more lenient with normal cricket series around the world, which is understandable. This tournament is under the spotlights, and it heats you up the right way. “So I’m under pressure. Yes, we know that. We’ve had a good discussion about it. There is nothing else you can do about it except just get it right.” South Africa suffer more than many teams because of their reliance on a three-prong pace attack with fast bowlers taking much longer run-ups and needing more recovery time than spinners.