• Amla, De Kock back for final ODI

    Hashim Amla returns to captain the Proteas for the fifth ODI against the West Indies at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Wednesday.

    AB de Villiers has been rested for the match, while Quinton de Kock makes a return to the line-up after a speedy recovery from a left ankle injury sustained in December.

    The Proteas have made clear the importance of finishing the series with a win, and will see the match as the last opportunity to ‘tie up loose ends’ before leaving for the ICC Cricket World Cup next week.

    ‘It’s very important,’ Amla said of winning. ‘You want guys to perform and to be in good form getting into the World Cup. Everyone is hungry to excel, to do their part and to make sure that they get on to the plane knowing that their skills are up to date.

    ‘As a team we want to be winning. 4-1 sounds better than 3-2 and the benefit of being in the position that we are in is giving the guys an opportunity which is just as important as winning.’

    Amla says the fringe players will have learnt a lot from the loss in Port Elizabeth, and will continue to gain more confidence with each playing opportunity.

    Another purpose of a game like Wednesday’s is to give another opportunity for the fringe guys to get some confidence ahead of the World Cup,” he said. ‘The bowling reserves did well in PE but you also have to give credit to the West Indies, they played well. It was a game of cricket that could have gone either way with nine wickets down.’

    The Proteas have three more matches before their opening match of the World Cup against Zimbabwe in Hamilton on 15 February.

    Apart from Wednesday’s match, they are scheduled to play warm-up matches against Sri Lanka and New Zealand in Christchurch ahead of their tournament opener.

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