World Twenty20: Illnesses dog South Africa's planning for opening fixture

 

South Africa's preparations for today's opening Group C fixture with Zimbabwe have been disrupted by a virus that has affected five members of the squad. With all-rounder Albie Morkel facing a morning fitness test ahead of the match, the composition of the side will not be settled until shortly before they begin their campaign. Even so it would be a huge surprise were they not to end Zimbabwe's involvement in the tournament.

South Africa's northerly neighbours were well beaten in the tournament's opening game against Sri Lanka and defeat in Hambantota this afternoon would see Alan Butcher's side cast as the first to be sent home. South Africa's management refused to name the quintet who have been ill but expect most of them to be able to feature today.

"We have a few guys who've gone down with viral infection, vomiting and diarrhoea but I am happy to say that they are on the mend," said Mohammed Moosajee, South Africa's manager.

Morkel underwent a scan after leaving the field with back spasms having bowled only nine balls in Monday's warm-up victory over New Zealand. Morkel's ability with bat and ball are important to the balance of South Africa's side, but his absence is unlikely to matter against Zimbabwe.

Sri Lanka had little difficulty in securing a thumping 82-run victory on Tuesday, a game in which the watching South Africans were more interested in assessing how the pitch played rather than how today's opponents fared. South Africa also play Sri Lanka at the Mahinda Rajapaksa stadium on Saturday in a contest that will – presuming Zimbabwe are beaten today – settle the group.

Zimbabwe were destroyed by Ajantha Mendis's remarkable figures of six for eight and South Africa are likely to play two spinners as a result (virus allowing) with Robin Peterson, who opened the bowling against New Zealand, set to join first-choice Johan Botha.

Zimbabwe did beat South Africa in a Twenty20 warm-up tournament in June, but it was an experimental visiting line-up that succumbed in Harare. "We will have to put in a vastly improved performance than against Sri Lanka," said Butcher, the former Surrey and Essex coach. "We have to pick ourselves up and be positive against what we know is a very good side."

World Twenty20: Results & fixtures

Yesterday's results

Group A (Colombo): India 159-5 [Kohli 50] bt Afghanistan 136 [Nabi 31; Balaji 3-19] by 23 runs

Group B (Colombo): Australia 125-3 [Watson 51] bt Ireland 123-7 [K O'Brien 35; Watson 3-26] by 7 wickets

Today's fixture

Group C (Hambantota, 3pm BST): South Africa v Zimbabwe

TV Sky Sports 1

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before