Senior players want to make a play – Amla

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Hashim Amla said that the senior players will make the difference.

The senior players will have an important role to play for the Castle Lager Proteas in their ICC Cricket World Cup quarter-final match against Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.

The opening batsman, Hashim Amla, says the experienced campaigners in the squad will need to step up in Wednesday’s clash, as the squad aims to achieve what no South African team has done at World events.

“There is no doubt that when you get to the knockout stages, you want to be the guy to score the big runs to put the team in a good position,” he said at the squad’s training session, held in Blacktown on Sunday. “Everybody in the team, especially the senior guys, want to be the guys to make the big plays for us; with the bat, ball and in the field.

Amla says the squad is motivated to improve on the proverbial failures of past world cups, and will be embracing the expectation of the occasion.

“It’s extremely important,” he said of winning. “We are well aware that we haven’t won a knockout game, and that serves as good motivation for the guys to make it a first for South African cricket.”

The Proteas will have to curb Sri Lanka’s X-factor players in Kumar Sangakkara and Lasith Malinga, opponents they have faced several times over the last two years.

“They (Sri Lanka) are a wonderful team, they compete very well at World Cups,” he said. “They seem to be playing good cricket. Thankfully we have played them in the recent past, both teams know each other well. A one-off game like this will be played with good intensity, it’s going to be a good game.”

The Proteas held a lengthy and intense training session on Sunday morning to kick-start their preparation, and looked like a renewed and focused unit three days out of the encounter.

“The guys are raring to go,” Amla said. “We have been fortunate that we were at home for the buildup of this tournament. We came to New Zealand and Australia for a tour, went back home for a month and a half and came back here. Most of the guys are fresh, some of the other teams have been away from home for a long time, and thankfully we are fresh and keen to make a good play on Wednesday.”

Wednesday March 18

South Africa v Sri Lanka, SCG 14:30

Annette van Schalkwyk
Sports journalist

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