Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis is looking for his side to perform with greater consistency with both bat and ball ahead of the third ODI against Pakistan at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Friday.
Having levelled the ODI series against Pakistan 1-1, the Proteas side is bolstered with the return of star performers Quinton de Kock and Dale Steyn, as they look to take advantage of the team’s strong performance at Kingsmead, despite a top-order collapse.
The opening two matches of the series unearthed some new potential, with Rassie van der Dussen being the standout performer, an exercise that has been a ‘blessing in disguise’ for Du Plessis and the selectors as they look to finalise World Cup positions.
‘We have been a bit rusty in both the batting and bowling departments,’ admitted Du Plessis ahead of the Friday encounter. ‘We haven’t put in a performance as close to the one we played in the last ODI in Australia. The injuries do take you back, taking Quinton, Dale and Lungi (Ngidi) out of your team means you are not playing your best team. For me that is okay, the guys who are playing in their spots will be guys who will make up the 15 going to the World Cup. It has been a blessing in disguise that we can look at more players.’
The side has been given fresh legs in the shape of Highveld Lions left-arm seamer Beuran Hendricks, who brings a different variation to the Proteas’ lethal attack, after bowling superbly in the 4-Day Franchise Series as well as impressing during the recent MSL. Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi are almost certain to make the trip to the UK, but the last slot for an ‘x-factor’ bowler remains open.
Faf du Plessis looks ahead to third ODI vs Pakistan at Centurion.Footage: Cricket South Africa
Gepostet von SA Cricket magazine am Donnerstag, 24. Januar 2019
‘Those three will go and they will play,’ Du Plessis said of Rabada, Steyn and Ngidi. ‘We need one more fast bowler. We are trying to think ahead in case someone gets injured. The three of them are all bowlers that can take wickets. We feel with the balance of the side and going with our strongest XI, having that x-factor bowler (as a reserve) in our bowling attack is key.’
The coastal matches produced relatively low-scoring matches, but Du Plessis expects more pace and bounce as the series moves to the highveld for the third and fourth match of the series. Centurion is often a happy hunting ground for the fast bowlers, who have taken 69% of the wickets at the ground.
‘Centurion and Wanderers should give you that bit of extra bounce,’ said Du Plessis. ‘The first two wickets were slower, and in the bigger picture you want to test yourself in case you get a slow wicket in the World Cup. Looking ahead, it will be a good for us [to play on slow wickets], but from a home point of view you always want something with a bit of pace and bounce.’
The match is scheduled to start at 1pm local time.
Photo/Video: Cricket South Africa