World Twenty20: Illnesses dog South Africa's planning for opening fixture
Thursday 20 September 2012
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
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
Group C (Hambantota, 3pm BST): South Africa v Zimbabwe
TV Sky Sports 1
Radamel Falcao exclusive: Forward says joining Manchester United is a 'dream come true'
Arsenal are 'short of greatness' - so take a gamble in the transfer market, urges Terry Venables
Arsenal transfer news: Ray Parlour urges Arsene Wenger to make late move for Edinson Cavani
WWE Raw preview: Will John Cena continue to defy the threat of Brock Lesnar?
Petr Cech transfer latest: Chelsea goalkeeper posts cryptic tweet amid exit talk
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain