Faf: Proteas going into World Cup under the radar

Faf du Plessis (Gallo)
Faf du Plessis (Gallo)

Cape Town - Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis was clearly frustrated at the malfunctioning floodlights at Newlands on Saturday night that prematurely brought an end to the 5th ODI against Sri Lanka. 

By the time play was called off, the hosts had done enough to ensure that they were well ahead of the Duckworth-Lewis par score, securing a dominant 5-0 win over a Sri Lankan outfit that looked all at sea for most of the series. 

While the result was never in any doubt, Du Plessis would have liked to see his batsmen tested a bit more with this the final ODI before the 15-man World Cup squad is announced. 

Aiden Markram (67*) was robbed of the opportunity to get to three figures while JP Duminy, who did not bat, could also have benefited from some time in the middle. 

Du Plessis and the Proteas will now turn their attention to a three-match T20 series against the Lankans that starts at Newlands on Tuesday, but absolutely all the focus between now and May 30 will be on the World Cup. 

South Africa have now won their last five ODI series against Sri Lanka (twice), Zimbabwe, Australia and Pakistan, but they are far from favourites heading into the World Cup despite that good run of white ball form. 

That honour is instead shared between hosts England and India, while even Australia are given more of a chance than the Proteas by most bookmakers. 

"Obviously England at home are one of the favourites and India and Australia have proven that they are good tournament teams," Du Plessis said after Saturday's frustrating day out at Newlands. 

"I think it comes down to form as a team and as individuals. If you have three or four of your batting line-up hitting purple patches it literally changes the whole tournament.

"Nobody would have said Pakistan would have been close to favourites moving into the Champions Trophy (in 2016), but they managed to bowl really well as a unit and kept bowling sides out and surprised a lot of teams.

"It's nice to go as a team that is not spoken of a lot. I like the fact that we are going with less pressure. As a team we are going there as prepared as we can be in that aspect."

Du Plessis added that South Africa's bowling remained key to any World Cup success, but the series against Sri Lanka also saw the side improve tremendously with the bat. 

"It's great to win 5-0, but for me it was more about making sure that we improved on a few things in the series and I felt that happened," he said.

"After the second ODI we weren't happy with the way we had batted and since then we have been good with the bat. The bowling spoke for itself.

"It's not the result in the series that were most important to us as a leadership group. If we lost two or three games but took strides towards where we want to go as a team, it would also have been successful."

A number of the players - Du Plessis, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir, Quinton de Kock, Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada - will soon be departing for IPL duty while the rest of the squad have the Momentum One Day Cup and the domestic T20 competition to look forward to.  

Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
42% - 7807 votes
11% - 1965 votes
19% - 3573 votes
3% - 464 votes
1% - 170 votes
2% - 440 votes
5% - 914 votes
8% - 1542 votes
3% - 612 votes
Water sports
1% - 168 votes
American sports
1% - 217 votes
3% - 571 votes