It has been talked up as the fixture that will decide Group 1, making the match-up between South Africa and West Indies perhaps the most intriguing of the group so far. West Indies hold the aces after two wins from their opening two matches. A third will see them take control of the group and set themselves up to top it, with only Afghanistan left to play. It will also guarantee them a semi-final berth.
South Africa remain far away from such safety. Defeat to England means that even after beating Afghanistan, they still have to deal with the two most recent champions if they are to ensure advancement. On paper, South Africa should not be too anxious of the West Indian challenge, but we all know the saying about where sport is actually played.
In sharp focus will be the contrasting approaches of these two sides. Well-planned South Africa take on carefree West Indies, perhaps the last people they want to see when under pressure – it means South Africa have to think of what they can expect and what they can’t from a West Indies side that thrives on the spontaneous. Already, one of South Africa’s strategies – to use JP Duminy to bowl more – has been spoiled because Duminy is injured. West Indies don’t even have that worry after Chris Gayle’s injury scare passed. For both sides, this may be their toughest test before the knockouts. As such, whoever wins this may become favourite for the title.