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Gibbs fit for crucial England clash
Mark Meadows | April 17, 2007 11:24 IST
With Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka already through to the final four from the round-robin Super Eights, the eagerly awaited Barbados match amounts almost to a knockout game to reach the remaining semi-final spot.
South Africa will qualify with a victory while an England win would mean they could afford to lose to West Indies in their final match as long as their net run rate remains better than Brian Lara's side and South Africa.
"Herschelle is fine," South Africa captain Graeme Smith told a news conference on Monday. "Both teams know each other pretty well, it will be an exciting game tomorrow. It is a big pressure day. The key is to get the selection right."
England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who has struggled with the bat all tournament, will play despite the effects of a lingering chest infection.
Batsman Andrew Strauss is also set to be included in an unchanged England lineup after recovering from a bruised left leg sustained playing volleyball.
"I sense an excitement around the team and an enjoyment factor knowing that the challenge is a massive one," said England captain Michael Vaughan, who is also out of form.
Bangladesh are the only test nation England have beaten so far and even that win at the Kensington Oval on Wednesday was a nervy four-wicket victory.
Kevin Pietersen, the world's top one-day batsman, is the only England player to have scored a century at this World Cup and he is keen to add another against his native South Africa.
Pietersen, 26, moved to England in search of international cricket after becoming frustrated with the lack of opportunities in South Africa, blaming a quota system for players of colour.
The England number four, who hit three centuries on his first tour of South Africa in 2005 despite constant crowd abuse, has fallen out with Proteas skipper Smith over his decision to quit his homeland.
Pietersen has also criticised South Africa's bowling unit as one-paced, saying their lack of an effective spinner has made them vulnerable and contributed to their shock loss to Bangladesh and Saturday's defeat to New Zealand in Grenada.
Smith's men may stick with slow left-armer Robin Peterson as the Barbados wicket has favoured quick bowlers early but has then slowed down later on. However, the captain said Justin Kemp and Charl Langeveldt were in contention for a return.
South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, Herschelle Gibbs, Ashwell Prince, Mark Boucher (wicketkeeper), Shaun Pollock, Andrew Hall, Robin Peterson, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini.
England: Ian Bell, Michael Vaughan (captain), Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Andrew Flintoff, Ravi Bopara, Paul Nixon (wicketkeeper), Sajid Mahmood, James Anderson, Monty Panesar.
The Cup: The Complete Coverage
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