The Proteas’ World Cup preparations will come to an end with the final ODI at Newlands, writes KHALID MOHIDIN.
With a 5-0 whitewash on the cards, the hosts will look to extract that extra little bit of confidence. If the Proteas can complete the whitewash, it will be a consecutive ODI series whitewash for Sri Lanka in South Africa.
There will be a final chance for fringe players Aiden Markram, Dwaine Pretorius and Anrich Nortje to stake their claims for the final few spots in the World Cup XI.
JP Duminy is set to bid farewell to the Newlands faithful in what will be his last home ODI before his retirement after the World Cup. He showed a glimpse of his attacking capabilities during his brisk 21-ball 31 in the fourth ODI at St George’s Park. Duminy seems to enjoy the confidence of the selectors despite his recent return following a shoulder operation.
What would be great to see is for the Proteas to open up the floodgates and truly punish the Sri Lankans by showing their ruthless side. Newlands wickets tend to offer equal opportunities for both bat and ball, which should offer a competitive contest if Sri Lanka bring their A-game to the final match of the series.
The series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka – despite presenting as an opportunity for players to push for spots in the squad – won’t count for much in a World Cup year. As JP Duminy said in his press conference on Friday, not much should be read into the result of the series.
‘Yes, these games build towards that, but in the greater scheme of things how much does that matter?’ asked Duminy.
‘We can lose a series 5-0 going into a World Cup and everyone will say we’ve got no chance, and we could end up winning it.’
Anything can happen in the World Cup – a tournament made up of small margins.
Players to Watch
Duminy will be saying goodbye to his Newlands faithful and he will aim to finish on a high in front of his home crowd in his last home ODI before retirement. Not only will he be a threat with the bat, but his offies will prove vital to make up the extra overs and take the occasional game-changing wicket.
The Proteas have dealt with Lasith Malinga quite well so far this series, but it is well known that the Sri Lankan veteran has the ability to rip through any bowling attack. Now will be his perfect chance, especially with some of the players in the home side’s top order looking to cement their seats on the plane to the UK.
The match will start at 1pm on Saturday.
Photo: James Worsfold/Getty Images