• ‘Batting first will be key’

    Farhaan Behardien says the batsmen will play a key role on the batting friendly pitch of the Manuka Oval when South Africa face Ireland in Canberra on Tuesday.

    Ireland are unbeaten at the World Cup so far, with victories over the West Indies and the UAE giving them a good chance of qualifying for the play-offs.

    ‘We rate them quite highly, actually, said Behardien at the pre-match press conference.

    ‘We’re not taking them lightly. They’ve played two and won two, and I don’t think we would have taken anybody lightly in this particular tournament. Every game is a big game, so yeah, we’ve picked really well. We’ve done some good analysis on them, and we’ll be giving it our all tomorrow and against anybody that we do face.’

    With the pitch in Canberra being described as a batting paradise, Behardien admitted that it could turn into a potential nightmare for the bowlers.

    ‘We’ve still got to stick to our processes. Like I said, we’re not underestimating Ireland at any cost. We have our practices in plan, and if the game unfolds the way it should do and we bat deep and we have wickets in hand towards the back end, I think that’s the way we set it up, and I think that’s the way most teams set it up.

    ‘I think that’s key, batting first. I think at night the ball tends to skid on a little bit more, which would bring our fast bowlers into contention. So the wicket during the day might be a bit slower from what we’ve picked up, but with that base and seven or eight batters, I think we can post a good score batting first if we do bat first.

    ‘Really if we have wickets in the back end, I think between 35 and 50 overs we’ve seen in this tournament, there’s scores in excess of 300. India, when we played against India, they had 30 overs and had a par score but they just exploded in the last 10 overs. We’re going to have to bat well.’

    Quinton de Kock has struggled to get going thus far, and he will have to help Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis setup the innings again for AB de Villiers and David Miller.

    ‘Hash and Quinny and Faf are going to have to set the game like they did against the West Indies. We were in a bit of trouble, and Faf and Hash batted well between 20 and 30,’ said Behardien.

    ‘We lost a couple of wickets, but it just allowed AB and Rilee and the fact that we play seven batters and the fact that most teams are playing seven batters, it just gives them that extra bit of freedom to explode at the back end, and I think that’s a bit of a trend in this particular World Cup.’