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Upbeat Windies take on South Africa

By The Assam Tribune

SYDNEY, Feb 26 (PTI): Fresh from a Chris Gayle power show that took them to their second win in the cricket World Cup, a buoyant West Indies will now take on South Africa, who are still licking their wounds after the 130-run hammering against India, in a Pool B match, here tomorrow.

Once again all eyes will be on Gayle, who smashed the first double century of the 50-over showpiece event against Zimbabwe in their previous game, and it will be interesting to see how the destructive opener tackles one the most potent bowling attacks, led by Dale Steyn.

After being shocked by Ireland in their opening game, West Indies turned on the heat against Pakistan to humble the Misbah ul Haq-led side by 150 runs and then romped past Zimbabwe to get placed behind leaders India in the pool table. The destructive Gayle came out of his slumber in Canberra, hitting a 147-ball 215 to sound the warning bells for every side in the competition.

Sharing a record 372-run second wicket partnership with Marlon Samuels (133), Gayle, who became the only non-Indian batsman after Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Rohit Sharma (2) to hit a double ton in ODIs, set a new benchmark of run-scoring in this edition of the World Cup.

The West Indies pace attack comprising Jerome Taylor, skipper Jason Holder and Andre Russell has also showed intent after a lacklustre showing against the William Porterfield-led side, which cantered to their 305-run target in 45.5 overs. South Africa, however, still hold the edge against a side they completely outplayed when they met last month for a five-match ODI series. The Proteas won 4-1 to batter their opponents in all departments.

West Indies Coach Stuart Williams said the side had learnt a lot from the recent South Africa series and believes the next meeting between the two sides can be different.

�The series against South Africa was more about learning about our game and where we need to go,� Williams said.

�We were playing the number one team in the world. Now it�s not a series, it�s just a one-off game in the World Cup so it�s a different mind-set, and we�re prepared for Friday.

�The guys have been [supporting each other], they have been working hard, they have been responding to my coaching and we�ve been doing fine up to this day.�

Meanwhile in their World Cup campaign so far, South Africa have not been up to the mark after they were tested against Zimbabwe in their opening game and were then embarrassed by India in their second outing.

The AB de Villers-led side, which had maintained an unbeaten record against India in the three World Cup outings so far, not only allowed the Mahendra Singh Dhoni�s side to post 307 for seven in its stipulated overs but were also shot out for 177 runs.

If the bowling, led by Steyn, was made to look ordinary by Shikhar Dhawan, who smacked a delightful 137, then the batting could not stand the test against an Indian attack that looked potent enough.

Much to their fans surprise, the Proteas were also found lacking on the fielding front after missing two catches and India on their part induced two run outs.

But �tomorrow is another day� and both the teams will be looking to get the better of each other in a pool which is turning out to be extremely competitive.

Teams: West Indies: Jason Holder (captain), Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Marlon Samuels, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Darren Sammy, Andre Russell, Denesh Ramdin, Sheldon Cottrell, Kemar Roach, Nikita Miller, Sulieman Benn, Lendl Simmons, Jerome Taylor.

South Africa: AB de Villiers (capt), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (wk), Faf du Plessis, David Miller, JP Duminy, Farhan Behardien, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Imran Tahir, Kyle Abbott, Rillee Russouw, Aaron Phangiso, Wayne Parnell.

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