Proteas to go all out today

2013-11-20 00:00

PROTEAS T20 captain Faf du Plessis is under no illusions about how he wants to deal with Pakistan in the first of two T20 matches today at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

Speaking at a Proteas training session yesterday, Du Plessis said, “We don’t want to give them a sniff in any of these two games. They are desperate for a good performance and we want to keep our foot on the gas.”

Du Plessis and his men are riding high on confidence after winning the two T20 matches last week in Dubai and he is keen to keep the momentum going, especially on home soil.

“Our last two games have shown our never-say-die attitude. We came out strong and the two wins have been good for the team as a whole,” said Du Plessis.

“We have improved in our styles and approach to matches. This can be seen in our batting and bowling where we have set up something to defend then let the bowlers do the work.”

With next year’s ICC Twenty20 World Cup starting in Bangladesh in March, Du Plessis hinted that he wanted two tight games against the visiting Pakistan side. This would simulate a pressure situation in the tournament where a slight mistake could mean going home early and being knocked out.

“Ideally, I would want both these matches to be tough,” he said.

“We must get used to and be able to play in pressure situations and make decisions when it counts. That is what we will face at next year’s World Cup and we need to adapt and know how to deal with these scenarios.”

Last Friday’s match was a case in point, the Proteas winning by six runs in a situation Du Plessis says he “thrived” on.

With the team performing well, especially in the bowling department, selectors are faced with the problem of who to leave out. However, Du Plessis was happy to have what was available in his side and said it was a healthy conundrum to have.

“All players like to be part of a winning team and obviously want to play and it’s a tough call on what to do and who to leave out,” he said.

“Conditions play a vital part and finding the balance is the key, finding what combinations are working best and use the winning formula.

“For me though, it’s about looking ahead to the world cup and being aware of the conditions. It’s on the sub- continent and the bottom line is selecting the best team for the conditions on the day. Having said that though, regular change is not healthy for the team either.”

The captain added that his team needed to remain focused and singled out Imran Tahir’s contribution to the team in the previous two T20 matches.

“Imran’s confidence is at an all-time high. He has played plenty of cricket at the Wanderers and knows the conditions and what’s required,” said Du Plessis.

“He’s playing well and answered all my questions in Dubai. He did what I asked of him and has been rewarded as a being a key player in the team.

“He has worked on building pressure and that is a vital cog to have in your side when it comes to T20 cricket,” Du Plessis added.

Today’s match starts at 6 pm.

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