The ICC Champions Trophy is now coming to the qualifying end and teams know that the next game could well be their last one in the tournament. The West Indies-South Africa game is like a knockout because the team that wins goes into the semifinals from their group. What they would want to do is to win by a big enough margin so that, if by chance Pakistan beat India, then they can top the group and play the number two team from the other group.
The weather conditions have changed dramatically from the first week of the event when it was bright and sunny and the dice was loaded in favour of the batsmen, and the spinners also could get some purchase from the dry pitch. Now with rain in the air and conditions more English, it is getting tougher for the batsmen and easier for the seamers too.
This may well suit the South Africans who are at least a bit more used to windy cooler conditions than the West Indians. The pace bowlers of both the teams will relish the conditions, but it is crucial for the West Indies bowlers not to get carried away, for that is what has been seen in the past where they have then bowled the wrong length and so been ineffective.
It is also important for the West Indies that Chris Gayle plays a match defining innings. He has got off to starts in both the games so far but has not gone on to play the kind of knock which takes the game away from the opposition. Marlon Samuels and Kieron Pollard are the others who need to pull their finger out and do more with the bat and not with the lips.
The banning of Denesh Ramdin has been a blessing in disguise, for it allowed the West Indies to bring back Darren Sammy, and the former skipper responded with a blistering half century which took the score to a fighting one than if he had not launched that late assault on the Indian bowling.
South Africa have also stuttered a bit especially with their fielding. They are usually a brilliant fielding unit, but they have let some balls through and missed some catches. They have to also have a word with Duminy whose calling and judgement of a run has cost them wickets at crucial times and they can ill afford that in this game.
If it is a cold windy day in Cardiff then South Africa have the advantage, but if the sun comes out then the West Indies could be in their element.
Professional Management Group