Steyn back and both SA and Windies have big guns in form of Amla and Gayle

2013-06-14 00:00

TODAY’S “quarter-final” clash between the Proteas and the West Indies in the Champions Trophy at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, is vitally important for both sides.

The Proteas are second in Group B on two points and are only ahead of the West Indies on net run rate. A win would obviously see the Proteas progress to the semis, as would a draw if the weather has a say, but a Caribbean win would see another attempt by the Proteas to win a major trophy end in tatters.

Heading into today’s showdown, it seems certain Dale Steyn will be back to spearhead the Proteas attack. He has looked back to his fearsome best in the nets and has bowled at full pace, showing no signs of the side strain he picked up in the warm-up match against Pakistan last Monday.

He has missed the opening two matches against India and Pakistan and his inclusion could see spinner Aaron Phangiso carry the drinks.

This means the Proteas take a four-pronged pace/seam attack into the game, with Steyn, Chris Morris (who looked steady in his debut against Pakistan), Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Ryan McLaren up front.

Spinning options will come from JP Duminy and Robin Peterson, the latter a more than useful batting option anywhere in the order.

Hashim Amla will look to get the Protea batting off to a steady start with Colin Ingram.

Amla’s 81 against Pakistan had his trademark wristiness and flicks and he settled well after being dropped on seven.

Another big score could be on the cards, but the West Indies have their own ace up their sleeve, the big, ruthless Chris Gayle, also at the top of the order. To date, after two matches, Gayle has compiled 60 runs, with a highest of 39 and a strike rate of 92.30.

Amla has 103 runs, a best of 81 and a strike rate of 91.96.

There’s not much between them, except Gayle is due to break the shackles soon and add to the solitary six he has hit so far in the tournament. South Africa hold their breath and pray that the Gayle factor is for another day.

Weather-wise, Cardiff will be cloudy, with sunny patches throughout the day. Rain (2 mm-5 mm) is forecast, with windy conditions.

This is a day game and although showers are in the air, it is expected to clear towards evening.

Plan of action: Win the toss, bowl under cloudy skies and control the game from the start.

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