All systems go for Proteas

2014-03-22 09:32

The Proteas have their sights set on gaining early momentum in their opening match of the ICC World Twenty20 against Sri Lanka in Chittagong, Bangladesh, today.

The compact nature of the tournament leaves little room for a slow start against the number-one-ranked tournament favourites.

“It’s a World Cup with a short turnaround between matches so momentum is important and so too is carrying it with you,” captain Faf du Plessis said yesterday.

“We take a lot of confidence from those warm-up matches earlier this week. Sri Lanka will come in with confidence after winning the Asia Cup so the sort of form you bring into the tournament plays a key role.”

The Proteas have a 3-1 advantage in the head-to-head tally against Sri Lanka and held a 2-1 series win away from home last year.

Du Plessis said playing Sri Lanka’s spinners and the lethal Lasith Malinga would be crucial towards the Proteas’ success, as well as having the services of AB de Villiers in the middle order.

“AB is the guy that needs to be winning us games in the middle overs,” he said.

“He is such a good player of spin and that is the hardest part of batting in the sub-continent, so you need your best player to be batting there.

“If he bats up front and gets a good ball, you lose one of you key players early on. From a team point of view it’s nice to know that, if you have a good start, you still have a great hitter of the ball to come.”

The medical team will make a late call on Du Plessis and Dale Steyn’s availability for the match today.

“It’s been an intense week for Dale and myself,” Du Plessis said.

“We want to make sure that we are ready for the game tomorrow. As it is right now, we are still assessing and we will both have a late fitness test tomorrow to see if we are ready.

“Dale had a bowl in the nets today and he came through alright so we will see how he goes tomorrow.”

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