The Proteas struggled against the Indians on Sunday and will look to eventually break the shackles as they go head to head against in-form West Indies. Most probably, they may be wary of double-centurion Chris Gayle who scored a record-breaking 215 against Zimbabwe. Even as South Africa look to find ways into poaching the Calypso men, their main bowler Dale Steyn must improve in order to torment Gayle and co. Steyn’s cutting edge has been blunted at the tournament so far with his two matches giving him total figures of two for 119 from a win over Zimbabwe and a crushing loss to India.
Even though Gayle struggled at the start of the competition, making 36 in the defeat by Ireland and just four in the win over Pakistan, he did comeback with a bang in that historical match at Canberra on Tuesday. Now the spotlight turns to the Sydney Cricket Ground where Dale Steyn will look to dismiss the West Indian southpaw,who has only been dismissed once by the Proteas’ ace bowler.
That came in the first match of the 5-match ODI series last year when Gayle hit a brisk 41 in damp Durban, albeit in a losing cause. The 35-year-old Jamaican hit two fours in Steyn’s first over and was looking to add more to the crease. But before Gayle could go on and smash a ton, Dale Steyn pounced in at the wicket.
But things could change pretty quickly in cricket as the blistering Gayle demonstrated in man-of-the-match performance against Zimbabwe where he shared a second-wicket stand of 152 off 75 balls with Marlon Samuels, who made 60.
As for Steyn, the bowler will be under even greater scrutiny on Friday with fellow seamer Vernon Philander sidelined due to a hamstring strain and Wayne Parnell having been gone for plenty against India at the MCG last weekend with the left-armer finishing with figures of one for 85.
With a lot at stake here, West Indies and South Africa just got a whole new meaning of being titled as the ‘firecracker’ of a tie.