The Proteas are hoping the added pressure from their “must-win” match against the West Indies at the Cardiff Stadium on Friday will bring out the best in the team. The Proteas flourished under the same pressure against Pakistan on Monday, and are carrying some winning momentum and confidence going into the match.
“It did in the previous game,” AB de Villiers said when asked if he hoped the match would bring out his team’s best. “We approached it as a knock-out game against Pakistan, and we played really good cricket. Like I said, the intensity is excellent and very good at the moment, the energy and the team spirit is fantastic. We handled the pressure situations really well in the previous games, and more of that tomorrow would be great.”
The West Indies pose a different threat to that of Pakistan, with star batsman Chris Gayle being tipped as the key wicket. Gayle has had a modest record against the Proteas in recent years, but is not the only threat with the bat for South Africa’s bowlers.
“He's definitely a guy we'll be looking at,” De Villiers remarked. “We've been assessing all of their players, they've got quite a few dangerous players on the team. We have been playing good ODI cricket against them in the past, but it's a whole new game. We know they've got a bit of confidence from the T20 World Cup that they won. We've got our game plan sorted, strategies in place, and tonight we'll do a bit more and come out firing tomorrow.”
Dale Steyn is available for selection after passing his fitness test, and will be an added boost to a seam attack whose execution and skill was impressive against Pakistan.
“Yeah, that's a difficult one because the others have performed really well in the previous game,” he said. “Then again, we've got to look at two spinners, or maybe just one spinner. It's still something to discuss and sit down with Gary this afternoon and make the final decision on that.”