South Africa will want to play their strengths to earn the final spot © AFP
South Africa will want to play their strengths to earn the final spot © AFP

West Indies are prepared to hosts South Afrcia in the final league match of the Tri-Nation Series at Barbados on Friday. Clearly the visitors are favorites with 12 points that has positioned them at No.2 while the hosts need to put up all they can with a huge margin to earn that final spot. West Indies skipper Jason Holder might remain out from this final game due to hamstring injury along with Jerome Taylor, who has been dropped from the remainder of the tournament due to a series of poor performances. Both the teams have won 2 games so far. Since South Africa’s fixture against Australia was abandoned due to rain, they have a loss less than West Indies’ 3 losses. If Proteas manage to win this, they will meet Australia in the final. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: West Indies vs South Africa, Tri-Nation Series, 9th ODI at Barbados 

West Indies’ batting has been inconsistent during the entire tournament. Except for the inaugural game where West Indies were saved by their middle-order crisis man Kieron Pollard leading the hosts to their first win against South Africa. Although the batting has been worrisome for the them in matches that followed against Proteas. Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher and Darren Bravo who can provide quick runs with their hard hitting skills have been ordinary in this tournament. A lot has been dependent on their middle-order with either Pollard, Marlon Samuels or Denesh Ramdin stepping up whenever needed. Samuels scored his best ODI total in the fixture against Australia in the previous match that lead to them to 200-plus score on board. Ramdin outclassed himself in the same crucial match against Australia. The man who lead his team to vctory in ICC T20 World Cup earlier this year — Carlos Brathwaite has been a disappointment as well. If these men keep going, South Africa surely would need to come up with some strategic plans.

With Holder and Taylor missing out in action, the bowlers will need to step up against quick fire batsmen of South Africa. Shannon Gabriel made his debut and also grabbed an important wicket of Usman Khawaja in previous game, maintaining his economy rate as well. Brathwaite might not have been best with the bat in this tour, but he surely played his part picking wickets in every game. In the opening match of the tour against South Africa he was the next highest wicket taker with 2 wickets after Narine. After his 6-wicket haul against South Africa, Narine has not managed to be at his best in games that followed. Can Narine repeat his stance, only time can tell. With the absence of Taylor, Pollard might get an opportunity to shine with ball. Joining him along will be Suliemann Benn who has picked just 3 wickets in this entire tournament. ALSO READ: Holder may miss West Indies vs South Africa ODI due to hamstring injury

In hindsight, South Africa started off at low point and have outgrown as the tournament progressed. With the entry of Faf du Plessis who replaced an injured Rilee Rossouw, it has only boosted their top-order. Quinton de Kock has scored fifty just once in this entire tour and will need to bring more power to his batting. As for Hashim Amla, he has shown what he can do with the bat with a century to his name in this series. Du Plessis’ entry was power-packed with two half-centuries in this series. If the top batsmen fail to survive, skipper AB de Villiers surely knows how to take over the role. His cameos have been fruitful to boost the scorecard in all the games. All-rounder Chris Morris can finish the game well for South Africa and has done so in many occasions. His stint of 40 off 26 against the hosts in the their previous meeting, shows the batting prowess Morris possesses. JP Duminy is yet to glow with his bat and will want to do so in the final match. ALSO READ: AB de Villiers becomes 6th player to play 200 ODIs for South Africa

As far as the Proteas’ bowling is concerned, a lot of combinations have been explored by the team. Kyle Abbott might get chance to come up for this crucial tie as he started off being the most economical bowler in the opening match against hosts. Next among the pacers will Kasigo Rabada, who recently garnered all the accolades for his bowling skills and has grabbed 4 wickets so far in this series. With Morris being around to support the pacers, it only gets better. Aaron Phangiso might just get a call for this crucial tie after his 3-wicket haul in the opening match against hosts. But the spin department clearly belongs to their veteran spinner Imran Tahir after his 7-wicket haul in the previous match against West Indies. They would also want to give another chance to chinaman bowler Tabraiz Shamsi to boost the spin unit.

Barbados proved to be perfect batting friendly pitch in the previous game between West Indies and Australia unless the rains do not play a spoilsport this time. This Tri-Nation Series has been a roller-coaster ride so far with twist and turns after almost every game played. The hosts will hope for miraculous entry into the final while the visitors will play on their strengths.


West Indies: Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Jason Holder (c), Kieron Pollard, Jonathan Carter, Carlos Brathwaite, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Ashley Nurse, Suleiman Benn, Sunil Narine and  Shannon Gabriel.


South Africa: Quinton de Kock (wk), Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers (c), JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, Kyle Abbott and Dean Elgar (Rilee Rossouw’s replacement).

Time: 22:30 IST | 17:00 GMT

(Shruti Hariharan is Content Writer with CricketCountry. You can follow her on Twitter at @Shruti_2890)