Hashim Amla says the Proteas have moved on from their 130-run defeat by India, but acknowledged they have to perform better.
‘Everybody in the team has played enough to know that you do win and lose games, so let’s not get too dramatic about it,’ Amla said in Sydney ahead of the match against the West Indies on Friday. ‘We didn’t play good cricket, but we take the knock on the chin. We know we have a few more games in the round-robin phase, and guys have been playing well. So we don’t want to dwell too much on it’
The Proteas were dismissed for under 177, chasing 307, and in the process lost seven wickets for 44 runs.
But, says Amla, at this early stage, the only effect the loss could have is where they finish on the pool table.
‘You want to finish as high as possible but if you qualify for the quarter-final, so be it,’ Amla said. ‘If you want to win a World Cup you’re going to need to play the best teams to win it. There’s no trying to avoid anybody.’
The immediate focus is getting the batting right at the top of the order, he said. ‘We didn’t manage to string enough big partnerships closely together and we lost wickets at key times. Things like that happen. Over the last few years it hasn’t happened to us too often – getting bowled out for 150 or 160. We just want to brush it off, take the knock on our chin, and get our heads up for the next game.’
That change will have to stem from the top, where the partnership between Amla and De Kock is yet to show what it is capable of. In 32 innings together, Amla and de Kock have scored 1 551 runs at an average of 48.46; at the World Cup, they have managed just 10 and 12 with De Kock appearing out of touch and Amla fumbling instead of playing fluently. Both problems, Amla hopes, are temporary.
‘It’s been a slow start and hopefully it gets better. I’m feeling good. Quinny is striking the ball really well. On any given day, he can kick into first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth gear. Although he hasn’t got many runs I don’t think anybody in the team is too concerned with him not getting enough batting time because he does hit a lot of balls in the nets and he does put a lot of care into his batting.’
‘The round-robin phase does allow you, if you do have a hiccup like we did on Sunday, some time to get back and align everything in the right way,’ Amla added.