Venue: National Cricket Stadium, Grenada
Date: Saturday, June 26
The two Test matches that started this tour both went the way of South Africa in dominating fashion. The tourists inflicted a rare innings defeat in the first Test as they bowled out their hosts for 97 in the first innings and 162 in the second. The South African total of 322 was never threatened as the Windies capitulated with the bat in the game’s longest format.
The second Test went only slightly better with the Windies failing to break 170 runs in either of their innings. South Africa put up 298 when they were put into the crease by the toss-winning Windies and their combined total was once again never threatened as they bowled out their hosts with 158 runs to spare.
Now, however, things turn in the favor of the hosts as the matches turn to the T20I format. With the World Cup in this format coming up later this year both sides will be looking to make a statement. The South Africans have been a bit of a mess over the last 18 months, something that means they will be walking into the World Cup without the expectations that often seem to bring them down. The Windies have a loaded squad at their disposal here as they work on improving their current position of 10th in the world with a big series on home soil.
The West Indies are going big here. They have named a 13 man squad for the first two matches in the series and the likes of Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, and the ageless Chris Gayle all back in the selection pool. It has been years since the trio – along with Kieron Pollard – played a T20I together, so it will be interesting to see how the stars mesh and if they can fall ingot their old groove immediately. It is this core of players – mixed in with some exciting up-and-coming youngsters – that make the Windies the favorites with BetXChange to win both this opening T20I and the series.
Temba Bavuma is an inexperienced captain but he is clearly a player that the South African selectors believe in. He is expected to start the batting alongside the in-form Quinton de Kock at the top of the order, with this pair being vitally important to any chance that South Africa has to put up a good total. Their bowling attack should be a strength, with the tourists having a number of fast bowlers on their books that should have some success in this one. Look for Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada to continue their Test form in this shorter version of the game.
Momentum is an interesting one here. It is funny how in cricket momentum doesn’t always seem to matter within a format change and I think that this will be the case here. Look for the hosts to come out with bats and pace options galore as they limit the South Africa attack and come out on top at 0.70 with BetXChange.