South Africa ready to experiment against Dutch
New Delhi: A relaxed South Africa team can afford to experiment in Thursday`s Group B match in Mohali against their Dutch opponents who seem to have run out of steam after just one good show in the World Cup.
Already the South African team management has indicated that one of the three spinners, all of whom did a brilliant demolition job against West Indies last week, would be rested during Thursday`s match which faces a considerable rain threat.
Rain lashed most parts of the northern state of Punjab and the local weather office has forecast some more for the next two days.
With Mohali traditionally offering more bounce than most Indian tracks and the early morning conditions also favouring the pace bowlers, South Africa would be tempted to gift Lonwabo Tsotsobe an advance birthday gift in the form of a place in the playing XI for the day match.
"Obviously we`ve got to look at the conditions in the matches coming up. Morning (conditions) and freshness of wicket do come into play," bowling coach Vincent Barnes said before leaving for Mohali.
"He (Lonwabo) is a very skilful bowler, the big advantage is that he is tall and gets good bounce," Barnes said of the towering paceman who turns 27 on March 7.
"He is one of our best bowlers in the past six months. It`s just a pity that we had to keep somebody out and play three spinners."
Even though most feel left-arm spinner Robin Peterson would pave way for Tsotsobe, South Africa may eventually rest leg-spinner Imran Tahir who has a respiratory tract infection.
Paceman Dale Steyn also suffered a minor bruise, having rammed into skipper Graeme Smith during a training session in Delhi, while JP Duminy is recovering from a stiff lower back.
The fitness woes notwithstanding, South Africa still have enough firepower to whip the Netherlands, who are clearly struggling to match the standard they set against England.
The Dutch nearly pulled off this World Cup`s first upset before narrowly going down with eight balls to spare.
Even in defeat, they made a statement on behalf of the associate teams who are, in all probability, featuring in one-day cricket`s biggest stage for the last time unless the governing body changes its mind.
But the Dutch failed to reproduce the form against a depleted West Indies and crumbled under the pressure, slumping to a massive 215-run defeat that would be difficult to shrug off before they take on the formidable South Africans.
Their fortune clearly depends on their batsmen, Ryan ten Doeschate and Tom Cooper to be precise, who would have to be at their best on Thursday to give their erratic bowlers a decent total to defend.