Proteas out to tame Mendis

2012-09-21 10:36

Hambantota – South Africa skipper AB de Villiers said his batsmen will put Sri Lanka’s magician spinner Ajantha Mendis under pressure when the two teams meet in a group C match in Hambantota.

Mendis (27), sounded a warning to all batsmen by picking up 6-8 – the best figures in all Twenty20 cricket – to crush Zimbabwe in the opening match of the World Twenty20 on Tuesday and promises further destruction.

But De Villiers said his team will be ready for the mystery spinner in tomorrow’s game.

“Mendis is a world class bowler,” said the South African captain today.

“When he’s going well he will always pick up wickets. But we’ve seen him perform under pressure and seen him break down under pressure as well.

“So, hopefully, we can get the upper hand against him and not let him bowl to us.”

South Africa also thumped Zimbabwe by 10 wickets in their opening match yesterday to qualify for the Super Eights round with Sri Lanka but De Villiers promised no let-ups.

“I don’t think there will be any drop in intensity. We’re in the beginning stages of a very, very big event, a tournament that we really want to win,” said De Villiers of South Africa, who are among the title favourites in the 12-team event.

The South African captain admitted his team were underdogs against the fancied hosts.

“We know we’re not a perfect team. Sri Lanka are the home team and we’re probably underdogs. We’ll try and gain more momentum out of the game,” said De Villiers, whose country has not won a major event since winning the 1998 ICC knock-out event in Bangladesh.

Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene played down the hype around Mendis, who is often compared with world record holder countryman Muttiah Muralitharan.

“They’re big boots to fill. It’s going to be tough for anyone to fit into Murali’s shoes because of the quality of the player,” said Jayawardene of Murali, whose 800 Tests and 534 one-day wickets are the highest in the world.

– Sport24

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