Proteas want to put pressure on MendisSeptember 21, 2012, 8:58 pm
Rex Clementine -reporting from Suriyawewa
Few Sri Lankan cricketers have made an impact such as Ajantha Mendis did on his return to international cricket. The spinner finished with six for eight in the World T-20 curtain-raiser against Zimbabwe after being out of action for nine months due to injury. Mendis’ variation is a threat to South Africa, who will take on the hosts in their last group game of the 12 nation tournament before returning to Colombo for the Super Eight stage of the competition.
South Africa captain A.B. de Villiers speaking to journalists yesterday said the Proteas will be looking to put pressure on Mendis who has an exceptional record in T-20 cricket, owning the best two bowling analysis in an innings in the shortest format of the game.
"A guy like Mendis is a world class bowler and when he’s going well he will always pick up wickets. But we’ve seen him perform under pressure and seen him break down under pressure as well. So, hopefully, we can get the upper hand against him."
With both teams through to the Super Eight, nothing is at stake in the lead up to the second round of the competition and there’s the danger of players perhaps not showing the same intensity as otherwise. "I don’t think there will be any drop in intensity," de Villiers said. "We’re in the beginning stages of a very, very big event, a tournament that we really want to win. You have to play well in every game and improve in every game. We’ll come out with a lot of energy and try and improve in areas that we didn’t do well against Zimbabwe. I don’t think we were 100% in that game. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We know we’re not a perfect team. Sri Lanka are the home team and we’re probably underdogs. We’ll try and gain more momentum out of the game."
The dead rubber also gives both teams opportunity to try a few different combinations and take a look at some of the other players in the squad. "We might have a look at that. I’m pretty happy with how the team looks and the combination we used against Zimbabwe. We may give one or two of the other guys a run, but once again, we want to win the game, beat the home team in their conditions and pick up the momentum. If we can beat the home team in their own backyard it will do a lot for us."
South Africa have never played Sri Lanka in a T-20 before although there have been several bi-lateral series between them apart from three World T-20s. "We know the Sri Lankan team quite well. We have played them regularly. We played them in the home series in South Africa not too long ago. No T-20s that time, but they are a very experienced team. They know the conditions well and they played a good game against Zimbabwe the other night. They are full of confidence and even though it’s a dead rubber there’s lot to gain. It will help both teams to gain bit of momentum and confidence. I want us to play good cricket leading up to the Super Eight. We know we can beat any team and going into the Super Eight that’s very important."
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Last Updated May 23 2013 | 10:49 pm