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A lot at stake at the Wanderers in series-decider between Proteas and West Indies

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The series is tied 1-1 going into the final match after the two team traded victories on Saturday and Sunday.

Aiden Markram of South Africa and Rovman Powell of West Indies shake hand after the 2023 KFC T20 International Series match at Supersport Park Stadium in Centurion on 26 March 2023. Picture: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

Gqeberha — All roads lead to “The Bullring” where South Africa and the West Indies will play the T20 international series decider tonight.

The series is tied 1-1 going into the final match after the two team traded victories on Saturday and Sunday. First the West Indies won by three wickets, only for a spectacular reversal in a record-breaking second T20, which SA won by six wickets.

The series has had it all so far and promises to maintain the same level of entertainment come tonight.

Here, we break down the four talking points that could have an influence on the decider.

SA’s batting

The Proteas go to the Wanderers with a confident batting line-up. Having chased down a massive 259 at Centurion on Sunday, the belief among the batters is at an all-time high.

Even the bench is loaded. The Proteas have the capable Tristan Stubbs waiting for his opportunity and come tonight, SA’s batters should take the attack to the West Indies bowling attack.

SA’s bowling

The bowling, however, has fallen short so far in the series.

The wicket at Centurion was flat, but the Proteas really could have bowled a little better to restrict the West Indies to under 200 runs.

The Proteas are struggling in the spinners department. Tabraiz Shamsi is yet to find form, while Bjorn Fortuin is fairly new to international cricket. The absence of Keshav Maharaj is being felt big time in the team.

Aiden Markram’s spin, on the other hand, has been high quality. He gets through his overs quickly, keeps opposition batters quiet and has a knack for taking big wickets making him a reliable spin option.

With a full-strength bowling unit – with at least two of Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi or Anrich Nortjé expected to play tonight – SA should be good enough to prevent the West Indies’ explosive batters from having an impact.

Recent playing conditions at The Bullring

The SA20 got a different taste of the T20 experience at “The Bulllring”. The wicket was not as fast or bouncy as it is known for.

Instead, spinners enjoyed bowling at the Wanderers and were the most effective as Roelof van der Merwe demonstrated in the SA20 final last month. Should the same sort of conditions be dished out, the team that adapts quickest will most likely win the match.

SA’s T20 record at The Bullring

In the past decade at the Wanderers, the Proteas have lost six out of 11 T20 matches.

The last time SA faced the West Indies at “The Bullring”, Chris Gayle helped the Caribbean team chase down over 231 runs, completing the highest successful run chase in T20 internationals at the venue.

That day in 2015, then captain Faf du Plessis scored his maiden T20 international century. The current skipper, Markram, is yet to reach the three-figure mark and perhaps tonight, it could be his night to shine.

The third match starts at 6pm.

@iamongamagcwabe

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