It's the first big match of this World Cup in the group phase. Till date, the big guns were up against the minnows and the mega event seemed to lack that steam to make people sit up and take notice, although teams like the Netherlands have provided the occasional challenge. This game has the potential to be a cracker, with two different styles clashing on a big stage.
West Indies cricket has always held special attraction for the flamboyance of its cricketers. The natural ability, carefree attitude, that extra swagger in some of their world-beaters has had a special corner in the heart of the cricket lovers. They are currently not even a shade of their world-beating ability but one cannot deny the likes of Gayles, Pollards, Sarwans and Chanderpauls of this team. Some of them on their day can turn around a match but West Indies don't do it consistently anymore.
The batting has ability but one needs to check out the bowling. It seems to lack the extra teeth to keep opponents worried. They have a new captain in Darren Sammy and it will be interesting to find out his thought process. His performance in this tournament will be the key to West Indies' fortunes and people back home along with the cricketing world will be waiting to see whether he has it in him to inspire this generation of West Indies cricket.
West Indies are up against a strong side, who are one of the big contenders. South Africa have the balance and also some big-match players to stand up in an event as this. Smith, Amla, Kallis, De Villiers, Steyn have had a good few months before coming into this tournament.
The SA team management will like to get the balance right. It will be interesting to see who turns out for them at no. 7. They tried out Botha at that number against India, but I’d say seven is high for him.