Selection dilemma for Proteas

2015-03-15 15:00

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Rilee Rossouw or Farhaan Behardien.?Vernon Philander or Kyle Abbott.

That’s the selection dilemma for the South African cricket team ahead of Wednesday’s anticipated quarterfinal match against Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

The Proteas on Thursday reached the knockout stages of the World Cup tournament after beating the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by 146 runs in Wellington, New Zealand.

Behardien, who got a chance to play in place of Faf du Plessis, had his best performance thus far in the green-and-gold at the Westpac stadium when he made 64* runs from only 31 balls against the UAE.

Rossouw has, however, been one of the most impressive South African batsmen thus far in the competition.

The left-hander from Bloemfontein has smashed 171 runs in only four matches (including two hasty 50s).

“Everything depends on whether Faf will be ready in time. He has trouble with his lower back, but I reckon he will be available for the quarterfinal,” South African captain AB de Villiers said.

“If everyone is fit, we will probably have to choose between Farhaan and Rilee – especially since most of our batsmen are in good form. It’s not nice to have to leave someone out, but this is the direction we’re moving in.”

According to De Villiers, the struggling Quinton de Kock will almost certainly make the team since the captain doesn’t want to be wicketkeeper.

De Kock has thus far only managed 53 runs in six matches (at 8.83 per innings) – largely thanks to his innings of 26 against the UAE.

“Quinny has shown signs that he is getting back to his best levels of play. He was willing to fight for every run and that was very encouraging,” De Villiers said. “I still believe he will at some point win a knockout match for us.”

The South Africans will also have to puzzle over whether to use Philander or Abbott on Wednesday, De Villiers confessed.

Philander celebrated his return from the injury list with two wickets in the New Zealand capital, while Abbott took eight victims in the three matches he played in place of the 29-year-old seam bowler.

“Unless there are a lot of injuries, it’s unlikely that both of them will play in the same team. Abbott had a couple of good performances, but it was important to give Vernon a chance.

“We know what he is capable of – especially with the new ball – and he contributes something with the bat too,” De Villiers said.

“Abbott has other strong suits and both are in good form, so it’s a luxury to have a choice between two such good players.”

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