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 here 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 in Bengaluru. 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. With just a win from two outings, South Africa desperately need a victory to bolster their prospects of qualifying for 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 allrounder JP Duminy was ruled out of the match with a hamstring injury he picked up in the 37-run win over Afghanistan on Sunday.