Kagiso Rabada says the Proteas intend to keep Sri Lanka on the back foot ahead of the second ODI at Dambulla.
The Proteas asserted themselves with a dominant five-wicket victory in the opening match on Sunday and will be hoping for a similar performance to go further ahead in the five-match series. Rabada says it will be a ‘massive advantage’ if the squad continues with the winning momentum at the Rangiri Dambulla International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
‘It is always great to get off to a good start – you are on the front foot,’ he said in Dambulla on Tuesday. ‘We are looking to carry on with this winning momentum. We want to continue with our game plans and try to make it 2-0 getting into Kandy. That will be a massive advantage for us.’
Rabada will be playing in his 50th ODI for South Africa and, although reluctant, is the standout leader of a young and inexperienced attack. His record has been impressive across all formats since making his debut against Bangladesh in 2015, which saw him make history by becoming only the second player to take a hat-trick on debut. The 23-year-old is currently ranked number nine on the ICC ODI rankings, with 79 wickets under his belt at an average of 27.
‘I have never come to grips with the phrase that I am the leader, I don’t see it that way,’ he explained. ‘I know that I have a responsibility within the team as an opening bowler. I know that out of all the bowlers I have the most experience, myself and [Tabraiz] Shamsi, so if you look at it that way we are leading. I don’t see myself as much of a leader, I know that I have a responsibility to perform. If anyone would like some help, I am always there to help and to give suggestions.
‘At the moment I am thinking about what is happening in this series, that is the priority,’ he admitted. ‘You work towards the World Cup and you want to be at a certain level where you want to be playing at your best and being really clear. Right now I am thinking about how I am going to play here and how to be clear here right now.’
Rabada toiled tirelessly in spin-friendly conditions during the Test series and was relieved to find some pace assistance in the conditions in the opening match where he took 4-41. The second match will be played on the same pitch, which could open up the possibility of spin playing a bigger role.
‘The Test matches were completely different – it was like playing on sandpits,’ he said. ‘It’s completely different now. There is some bounce – it was more like a one-day wicket. I felt it was a good wicket.’
The match is a day/night ODI and play is scheduled to start at 2.30pm local time.
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