Fired-up Proteas head for World Cup

4 February 2015

The Proteas got a full South African send off at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg before making their way to Christchurch, New Zealand, on Wednesday for the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

Hundreds of passionate fans turned up at Melrose Arch to wish the team luck as part of Cricket South Africa’s #ProteaFire supporters campaign.

“In you flows the blood of African warriors,” Sports Minister Mbalula Fikile told the team at a media briefing on Wednesday morning. “It’s now or never. South Africa, your time has arrived to conquer.”

Australia enters the Cup at the top of the latest ICC ODI Team Rankings, which were released on Monday after their 112-run tri-series final victory over England in Perth on Sunday. South Africa is ranked third – but the Proteas go into the tournament as one of the favourites.

“There’s no hiding from the fact that we haven’t won a World Cup,” captain AB de Villiers said. “There’s a lot of pressure but we’re gonna stick together.”

South Africa will play Sri Lanka in their first warm-up match on Monday. On Wednesday, they will play New Zealand in a warm-up match.

Their first World Cup match will be played in Hamilton on 13 February, where the South African side will face Zimbabwe in the first of six group games.

“There is no complacency when facing a side in a World Cup. You have to respect all of them,” Protea coach Russell Domingo said.

The selection committee announced the World Cup squad in January. It includes includes eight players with previous World Cup experience: De Villiers, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, JP Duminy, Wayne Parnell, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir.

“We feel we have a nice blend of experience of major knock-out tournaments plus the freshness that will come from the relative newcomers,” Andrew Hudson, the convenor of the selection committee, said at the announcement.

“We have also stayed true to our policy of consistency and reward for good performances that has enabled us to build a good record over the past 12 months. The fact that most of these series have been played away from home has provided excellent preparation as well,” Hudson said.

#ProteaFire

Cricket South Africa has been running a supporters’ campaign, which they have tagged #ProteaFire.

As part of the campaign, Protea players were asked what it meant to them to represent South Africa. Captain AB de Villiers said: ‘Representing your country at a World Cup is the highest honour that any player can achieve, it is what we all aspire for a young cricketers.

“When we step on to the field, we want nothing more than to make our country proud. We know that we will be representing 60-million passionate South Africans when we head to New Zealand and Australia and having that support means the world to us.”

SQUAD

Castle Lager Proteas World Cup squad: AB de Villiers (The Unlimited Titans, capt), Hashim Amla (Nashua Cape Cobras, vice capt), Kyle Abbott (Sunfoil Dolphins), Farhaan Behardien (The Unlimited Titans), Quinton de Kock (bizhub Highveld Lions), JP Duminy (Nashua Cape Cobras), Faf du Plessis (The Unlimited Titans), Imran Tahir (Sunfoil Dolphins), David Miller (Sunfoil Dolphins), Morne Morkel (The Unlimited Titans),Wayne Parnell (Chevrolet Warriors), Aaron Phangiso (bizhub Highveld Lions), Vernon Philander (Nashua Cape Cobras), Rilee Rossouw (Chevrolet Knights), Dale Steyn (Nashua Cape Cobras).

FIXTURES

Group matches

  • 15 February, 3am: South Africa v Zimbabwe. Seddon Park, Hamilton
  • 22 February, 5.30am: South Africa v India. Melbourne Cricket Ground
  • 27 February, 5.30am: South Africa v West Indies. Sydney Cricket Ground
  • 3 March, 5.30am: South Africa v Ireland. Manuka Oval, Canberra
  • 7 March, 3am: South Africa v Pakistand. Eden Park, Auckland
  • 12 March, 3am: South Africa v United Arab Emirates. Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Quaterfinals

  • 18 March, 5.30am: Sydney Cricket Ground
  • 19 March, 5.30am: Melbourne Cricket Ground
  • 20 March, 5.30am: Adelaide Oval
  • 21 March, 3am: Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Semifinals

  • 24 March, 3am: Eden Park, Auckland
  • 26 March, 5.30am: Sydney Cricket Ground

Final

  • 29 March, 5.30am: Melbourne Cricket Ground

SAinfo reporter