Proteas hope to carry momentum into NZ game

2015-08-13 06:00

WHILE it’s not often international cricket is played in Durban as early as August, the Proteas and New Zealand are expecting a tough showdown in the first of two T20 Internationals, starting at Kingsmead on Friday.

While the ODI series was lost in Bangladesh, the Proteas did manage to win the T20 clashes two-nil and new Protea fast bowling sensation Kagiso Rabada is hoping the team carry that momentum into Friday’s meeting.

“With the T20 World Cup coming up in March-April next year, it’s important to keep a good streak going and mould a consistent team,” said Rabada.

While New Zealand are missing key players through rest and injury — Brendan McCullum, Ross Taylor, Trent Boult, Time Southee and Corey Anderson to name a few — Rabada does not expect the Kiwis to be complacent.

“It’s a pity players of that standard are missing but it does not mean they will not be competitive. They are strong in the shorter format of the game and we underestimate them at our peril,” he said.

Bursting onto the ODI scene with 6-16, including a hat-trick in his maiden match against Bangladesh in Dhaka, Rabada is looking forward to conditions more familiar to him, relishing seeing something green on the wicket for a change.

“It was a challenge to bowl as a seamer in Bangladesh and it’s great being back home,” he said. “My one performance does not make me a hero and every game now is about working hard, preparing and looking ahead.”

The Kingsmead strip for Friday’s match is still being prepared and at this stage, is as green as the tablecloth where Rabada sat while chatting to the press.

“This wicket looks nice and fresh, good to bowl on,” he said. “And it’s green. In Bangladesh, a bowler has to change his approach slightly and I found I could not bowl as full as I do here in South Africa.”

Having only played two four-day games at Kingsmead, Rabada was a little unsure of what the wicket could offer but had fond memories of what it had done for him previously.

“From what I remember, this wicket offers tennis ball bounce, good carry and some swing,” he said. “Our bowling coach Charl Langeveldt will access conditions and advise us accordingly come match day.”

Proteas middle-order batsman David­ Miller said this series against New Zealand was not revenge for knocking South Africa out the World Cup earlier this year, but rather, from the Protea perspective, an opportunity to compete and win the best they could.

“We have this series now at home then we visit India for another round of matches.

“That means playing on two vastly different surfaces, something we need to adapt to and win on ahead of the T20 World Cup,” he said.

“That World Cup semi-final defeat is past and we are starting from a clean slate …

“As for me, I have been working hard and ticking all the right boxes. It’s a matter of getting onto the park and doing the business. I cannot tell what the conditions will be like on Friday, but it all looks okay and ready to go.”

Friday’s match starts at 6 pm and is telecast on SS2.

More news from the Protea camp is the withdrawal of JP Duminy from the T20 squad. Originally picked for the two T20 matches and missing the three ODIs for paternity reasons, it appears baby Duminy could arrive sooner than expected, hence his withdrawal.

He has not been replaced in the squad

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