West Indies have come to the World Cup with the worst possible form. The two-time World champions enter the tournament with eight straight losses under their belt, their last victory coming against Ireland in April last year.
On the other hand, their opponents South Africa head into the tournament brimming with confidence, having won 15 out of their last 19 ODIs.
South Africa also lead by a long margin in the head-to-head contests. The Proteas have won 37 out of the 50 matches played against the West Indies, while in the World Cup the teams have won two games each.
Palpably, West Indies captain Darren Sammy sounded guarded on Wednesday, the eve of the teams' meeting in the World Cup, hopeful that the former champions can gel together and play some consistent cricket.
"In order to go and win the World Cup you have to be consistent. Every team should win at least four games in the preliminaries to make it through the knock-out stages, and from there everything is impossible," Sammy said in Delhi on Wednesday.
The West Indies were the dominant force in world cricket in the 1970s and 1980s and they even won the World Cup twice, in 1975 and 1979. They also made it to the final in 1983, when they were shocked by India. However, since then they progressed to the semi-finals just once, in 1996, when the World Cup was last staged in the sub-continent.
Sammy agreed the passion and fighting spirit that was reminiscent of the all-conquering West Indies in the 1970s and 80s was missing in the last couple of decades.
"I think everyone just wants to see the West Indies play with pride and passion. The fans, the media and everyone want to see the West Indies fight and play with pride, like we used to do in the 80s. As long as we go and give our best, the fans will be happy at home; we are aware of that and we will give our best," he said.
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Sammy became West Indies' skipper by chance last October after previous captain Chris Gayle and vice-captain Dwayne Bravo refused to sign central contracts with the West Indies Cricket Board. Under his leadership, the team is yet to register a victory, having suffered two losses in Sri Lanka last month, while one match was rained off.
And Sammy made it clear where the problem areas lie.
"My concern will be to go out there and play consistently good competitive cricket that will give us the results we want."
The West Indies boast of a plethora of match-winners in their line-up, including the likes of Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Ramnaresh Sarwan. All Sammy is hoping that a couple of them fire on Thursday against the South Africans and give the team an unlikely victory.
"Obviously, our challenge is go out and perform to the best of our abilities. We are quietly confident that we can go out and get the job done. But we have to take one game at a time and as of now we are ready for SA tomorrow," he quipped.