Proteas conquered fear of the unknown in Sri Lankan victory

2015-03-22 06:00

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The unknown need not be feared.

This was Mike Horn’s simple yet inspiring message to the Proteas before their historic World Cup quarterfinal victory over Sri Lanka on Wednesday.

Horn, a world-renowned adventurer and motivational speaker, met the South African team shortly before their match against Sri Lanka and, according to JP Duminy, his contribution was invaluable.

“Mike talked to us about fear in our team meeting before the game. He said it lay somewhere between the known and the unknown and if we could bring those two closer together, we would have a good chance of winning the game,” said Duminy.

“It’s the unknown that causes fear and doubt and yes, there was a lot of it, but we believed in ourselves, had a clear plan and executed it superbly.”

Duminy was one of the Proteas’ big heroes in their nine-wicket victory over Sri Lanka – the team’s first in a knockout match in this tournament.

His hat-trick – the first by a South African in World Cup cricket and only the second by any Proteas bowler in a one-day match – was the nail in the Sri Lankan coffin.

Charl Langeveldt, one of the team’s bowling coaches, got the first hat-trick in 2005 against the West Indies.

“Langes [Langeveldt] was quick to mention that I’m the second South African [to achieve a hat-trick], but he didn’t do it at a World Cup so at least in that respect I’m one up on him,” said Duminy.

His performance will hopefully make the task of the selectors a bit easier before the semifinal on Tuesday against New Zealand.

“The fifth bowler has caused a headache in the whole tournament up to now and hopefully I have now shown I can do it. It was important that I prove this to myself as well as to the rest of the team,” he said.

“I must now just be consistent in my bowling. But if it doesn’t happen in the next game, I won’t be despondent – as long as someone else just gets the wickets to fall and the team gets over the finishing line.”

After their victory in Sydney, the Proteas are one of the favourites to win the Cup, but Duminy said: “It was excellent for our self-confidence and now, more than ever, we believe we can win the World Cup, but it will mean absolutely nothing if we don’t go the distance.

“The pressure has eased a bit after the match against Sri Lanka, but we know there will be nerves and tension again before the semifinal.

“This win [against Sri Lanka] was a huge step in the right direction, but the World Cup is not won yet. If we win the semifinal it will be another step closer and anything can happen in the final.”

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