x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Parnell's seamless rise to the top has impressed Smith

Amid South Africa's inexorable march through the World Twenty20, a new gem has emerged in the form of the young left-arm pace bowler, Wayne Parnell.

LONDON // Amid South Africa's inexorable march through the World Twenty20, a new gem has emerged in the form of the young left-arm pace bowler, Wayne Parnell. Just over a year ago, Parnell was the captain of the South African side who reached the Under 19 World Cup final in Malaysia. His graduation to the ranks of full international has been seamless and now, though still a teenager, Parnell has become the linchpin of their attack in the 20-over format.

He triumphed in bowling the vital death over in the pool stage win against New Zealand, and his parsimony at the start of the innings was the basis for their opening Super Eight win over England. Graeme Smith, his captain, has been impressed. "Parnell has been superb," said Smith, ahead of today's meeting with the West Indies. "He has just come in, he is very young and he's handled everything really well. He bowled with pace and control. The crowd was against us [against England at Trent Bridge] but he handled the situation very well."

Smith believes the pressure England felt while playing in front of an expectant home crowd worked to South Africa's benefit last time out. Today's venue, the Oval in south London, is in the centre of the capital's Caribbean community. As such, the ground has been a stronghold for the West Indies in the past, most recently when they thrashed Australia on their way to the Super Eight. Smith added: "We are pretty excited about the prospect of playing the West Indies and the next challenge will be India.

"If we can play to the level we have so far in this tournament, we're a hard team to beat - we're going to challenge every team on a consistent basis." pradley@thenational.ae West Indies v South Africa, starts at 4.30pm, ART Prime Sport