Rassie van der Dussen eyes Ireland scalp as Proteas set to scale Super League table

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South African batsman Rassie van der Dussen (Gallo)
South African batsman Rassie van der Dussen (Gallo)
Lee Warren/Gallo Images
  • Proteas middle-order batsman Rassie van der Dussen said they need to get their ODI act together in the upcoming series against Ireland.
  • The first of three ODIs takes place in Malahide and forms part of the 13-team ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League.
  • South Africa is stone last and needs to get into the top eight to guarantee automatic qualification for the 2023 World Cup in India.

Proteas middle-order batsman Rassie van der Dussen says the nature of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Super League means they cannot afford to take Ireland lightly.

South Africa face Ireland in Malahide on Sunday in the first of three ODIs in what will be an important rubber for Mark Boucher's side.

The Proteas are currently bottom of the 13-team Super League which will see the top eight teams qualify directly for the 10-team 2023 Cricket World Cup that is set to be hosted by India.

The teams placed from positions nine to 13 in the Super League will link up with the top three sides from the Super League two and two from the qualifier play-offs to determine the two sides who will complete the World Cup line up.

Reigning World Cup champions England are on top of the log with six wins from 12 games that have given them 65 points.

South Africa have played a total of nine ODIs under Boucher's stewardship. They won one series against Australia (3-1), drew against England (1-1), but lost to Pakistan (2-1) in April.

It is only the Pakistan series that counted for Super League points, however with South Africa only having nine from their 17-run win against Pakistan in the high-scoring second ODI of that three-match series at the Wanderers on 4 April.

They should have received 10 points for the win, but they were deducted a point for a tardy over-rate.

Van der Dussen, who batted well in that series and on the recent tour to the West Indies, said they needed to make every game count.

"With the new 50-over competition structure the ICC has, every game becomes important," Van der Dussen said.

"England captain Eoin Morgan said the other day there's no such thing as a dead rubber in ODI cricket because of the points available in every game. They get you qualified for the World  Cup.

"The priority is to win matches and that may mean the picking of the strongest available team, but we have confidence that the guys here can get the desired result."

Van der Dussen made important contributions in the Test and T20 series wins against the West Indies and is looking forward to easier batting conditions in Ireland.

Van der Dussen spent two productive seasons in Ireland in 2013 and 2014 with the Church of Ireland Young Men's Society (CIYMS), so he has a fair idea of what to expect on the Emerald Isle.

Having battled seamer-friendly surfaces in St Lucia for the Tests and then moved to a sub-continent style pitch in Grenada that didn't allow for free-flowing stroke play in all five T20s, Van der Dussen remained wary of the overhead conditions that may bring lateral movement into play.

"Having played here and in the United Kingdom before, a lot depends on the overhead conditions," Van der Dussen believes.

"When the sun's out and the wicket becomes hard, it becomes favourable for batting, but if there's rain around in the preceding days and on the day, the ball swings, and the grass livens up.

"Seam movement can also be a bit of a factor with two new balls, but at this time of the year in Ireland, the weather should be okay and make the conditions more batter conducive than the West Indies."

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