Amla asks Proteas’ senior players to step up for World Cup

16 March 2015

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.

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

“There is no doubt that when you get to the knock-out 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.

Quarter-final line-up

The quarter-finals line-up was confirmed on Sunday after the West Indies defeated the UAE in Napier and Pakistan beat Ireland in Adelaide on the last day of the pool stage matches.

The results mean India has finished on top of Pool B, followed by South Africa, Pakistan and West Indies. On Saturday, Pool A placing were confirmed with New Zealand claiming top spot, followed by Australia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

South Africa will go head to head with Sri Lanka in the first quarter-final in Sydney on Wednesday (18 March), while defending champion India will square off against Bangladesh in Melbourne on Thursday (19 March).

Four-time former champion Australia will take on 1992 winner Pakistan in the third quarter-final on Friday (20 March) in Adelaide, and the last quarter-final will be between New Zealand and the West Indies in Wellington on Saturday (21 March).

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

‘Winning is important’

Winning is “extremely important,” he said. “We are well aware that we haven’t won a knock-out 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 past two years.

Sri Lanka compete very well at World Cups, Amla 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 and looked a renewed and focused unit three days out of the encounter.

“The guys are raring to go,” Amla said.

The Castle Lager Proteas face Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground at 5.30am on Wednesday. The build up for the quarterfinal starts at 4.30am on SuperSport 2, SABC3 & Radio 2000.

WORLD CUP MATCHES

Group matches

  • 15 February, 3am: South Africa beat Zimbabwe.
  • 22 February, 5.30am: India beat South Africa.
  • 27 February, 5.30am: South beat West Indies.
  • 3 March, 5.30am: South Africa beat Ireland.
  • 7 March, 3am: Pakistan beat South Africa.
  • 12 March, 3am: South Africa beat United Arab Emirates.

Quater-finals

  • 18 March, 5.30am: South Africa v Sri Lanka, Sydney Cricket Ground
  • 19 March, 5.30am: Bangladesh v India, elbourne Cricket Ground
  • 20 March, 5.30am: Australia v Pakistan, Adelaide Oval
  • 21 March, 3am: New Zealand v West Indies, Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Semi-finals

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

Final

  • 29 March, 5.30am: Melbourne Cricket Ground

Source: Cricket South Africa and ICC