WT20: Chris Gayle back to opening slot against South Africa
Chris Gayle will return to the top of the batting order as West Indies look to continue their winning run and secure a semifinal berth when they take on South Africa in the ICC World Twenty20
Nagpur: Chris Gayle will return to the top of the batting order as West Indies look to continue their winning run and secure a semifinal berth when they take on South Africa in the ICC World Twenty20 in nagpur on Friday.
The big-hitting left-handed opener was dropped down the order to number six in their previous match against Sri Lanka after he pulled a hamstring while fielding.
The West Indies, though, didn't require Gayle's services as they rode on opener Andre Fletcher's unbeaten 84 to register a seven-wicket victory at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.
It was the West Indies' second win of the tournament after a Gayle century, which included 11 sixes, inspired them to a six-wicket triumph over England in their opening match.
The former champions are on top of Group 1 on four points and a defeat of South Africa in Nagpur would see them become the second team to qualify for the last four, after New Zealand.
Gayle and Fletcher are expected to open the batting for West Indies with Johnson Charles moving down the order.
"I've opened the batting with him on many occasions so I know what sort of a player he is, he is very dangerous and he's capable of getting big scores as well," Gayle said of Fletcher.
With just a win from two outings, South Africa desperately need a victory to bolster their prospects of reaching the semifinals. After the stunning loss to England, who chased down a record 230-run target, South Africa beat minnows Afghanistan to be placed precariously in third spot, two points behind England.
If South Africa fail to beat the Windies then England would be in pole position to qualify from the group going into the last round-robin game.
The Proteas' preparations were dealt a blow after all-rounder JP Duminy was ruled out of the match with a hamstring injury he picked up in the 37-run win over Afghanistan on Sunday.
The right-arm spinner, who bats left-handed, has scored 83 runs in two matches without being dismissed, and also took 1-31 in the loss to England.
"JP is a big player for us. Not having him is a big blow and does upset the balance of the side," South Africa coach Russell Domingo said.
In Duminy's absence, South Africa will include Aaron Phangiso to complement the legspin of Imran Tahir with the wicket in Nagpur likely to suit spinners.
Teams (from): South Africa: Faf du Plessis (captain), Kyle Abbott, Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock, AB de Villiers, Imran Tahir, Chris Morris, David Miller, Aaron Phangiso, Kagiso Rabada, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn, David Wiese.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (captain), Samuel Badree, Sulieman Benn, Carlos Braithwaite, Dwayne Bravo, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Ashley Nurse, Denesh Ramdin, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Evin Lewis.