Proteas ‘comfortable’ with being World Cup favourites

2015-01-29 11:44

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Following South Africa’s comprehensive 4-1 One Day International series win against the West Indies, coach Russell Domingo says his team were comfortable being labelled favourites ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup next month.

“All sides would rather go into a competition as one of the favourites because it means you’ve probably been playing consistent cricket,” Domingo said in Centurion yesterday after South Africa ended the series with a 131-run victory.

“We’ll take that tag as a compliment if it gets thrown at us, but we know it means very little.”

In the past, South Africa have been plagued by poor performances during the knockout stages of the World Cup, dating back to their debut appearance in 1992.

At the last event, South Africa collapsed from 108 for two, to 172 all out, in pursuit of a moderate 222 by New Zealand in a quarterfinal.

This time around, Domingo said his side would be approaching the tournament in the same manner as any other series.

“Going into the World Cup, it’s going to be totally different to what we’ve experienced over the last few weeks – with the publicity and the pressure that comes with it.

“As a unit, we’re trying to play it down as much as we can. It’s difficult to do, but we’re trying to see it as just another series.”

A clear highlight of the five-match contest against the West Indies was South Africa’s 439 for two in the second ODI, where captain AB de Villiers blasted the fastest-ever century in the format, taking just 31 deliveries to achieve his feat. De Villiers eventually ended with a sublime 149 from 44 balls before he was out.

Domingo dismissed any notion of South Africa peaking ahead of the World Cup.

“The World Cup is a long tournament. You need to play really well when it counts – at the back end of the tournament. Peaking at the right time is not at the forefront of our minds right now.”

With Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel both rested, and Vernon Philander left out of the fifth ODI with a groin niggle, Wayne Parnell stepped up to take 4/42 in his nine overs, which satisfied Domingo.

“I’m very pleased with Wayne. He’s really worked hard over the last couple weeks. He’s really talented and got the ability to change a game.

“He’s now got 64 wickets in 45 odd matches. That’s almost 1.5 wickets per game and if you do that, you’re doing exceptionally well.”

While the performance of Farhaan Behardien with the bat had been questioned, though his time in the middle had been limited, Domingo said his ability with the ball added value to the side.

“It’s a wonderful variety to have a guy like Farhaan bowling in our attack. On certain wickets where the balls might grip and there might not be pace in it, he’s a very skilful bowler.

“He bowls three or four deliveries, a leg cutter, an off cutter and a seam-up delivery so he adds variety to our attack.

“JP Duminy is an experienced offspin bowler, so I’m pretty happy with those two as the fifth bowler.”

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