South Africa finished their One-Day International series against Sri Lanka with a clear idea of both the team and the tactics they will use in the upcoming ICC World Cup in England. Sri Lanka, after their fourth 5-0 series defeat in less than two years, appeared to be in disarray.
South African captain Faf du Plessis said after the fifth match on Saturday night that he was “98 to 99 percent” sure who would go to England. He said the “one or two percent” was to allow for “guys who are really red hot or striking good form”.
South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis to rely on bowling attack for World Cup 2019 success.
Du Plessis indicated that South Africa were pinning their hopes on a potent bowling line-up to win matches, even if meant that the team might have a lengthy tail.
South Africa’s fast bowlers, backed by leg-spinner Imran Tahir, dominated the Sri Lankan batsmen, who were unable to bat out a full 50 overs in any of the matches.
Du Plessis cited the example of Pakistan, who won the 2017 Champions Trophy in England.
“You can learn from your mistakes and you can look at other teams where they have got it right. Pakistan had a very average batting line-up but it didn’t matter to them because they kept bowling teams out.”
“Nobody would have said Pakistan would have been close to favourites moving into the Champions Trophy (in 2016), but they managed to bowl really well as a unit and kept bowling sides out and surprised a lot of teams.”
“I’ve been in teams that have had a very long batting line-up and it didn’t prove successful,” said Du Plessis.
“It’s nice to go as a team that is not spoken of a lot. I like the fact that we are going with less pressure. As a team we are going there as prepared as we can be in that aspect.”
Du Plessis said that if the bowlers performed, it would be up to the top six in the batting order to make sure they scored enough runs.
“Everyone needs to contribute, every single game. You’re not guaranteed a performance, but you’re guaranteed of putting in the style of play, of putting in the hard work and raising your intensity, and trying to make sure that you can be a better player than you’ve been before. And I think slowly but surely you can see that from the players.”
Seven of South Africa’s likely World Cup squad will be playing in the Indian Premier League, which starts on Saturday. The fixtures have not been finalised but it is likely the IPL will only finish about two weeks before the start of the World Cup.
Key bowlers Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Tahir, as well as promising fast bowler Anrich Nortje, will be playing in the IPL – as will Du Plessis, Quinton de Kock and David Miller.
Du Plessis said he had no power over IPL decisions, “but if we can get some guys even a week’s break before we join up together that will be great for us. We’ll see if that can be a possibility”.
Du Plessis, Rabada, Ngidi, Tahir and De Kock were all named on Sunday in South Africa’s squad for the first Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka at Newlands on Tuesday but will not play in the last two matches.