Proteas keen to maintain winning momentum ahead of Newlands ODI
The Proteas are relinquishing the opportunity to make history by whitewashing World Champions, Australia, 5-0 in their incoming ODI Series when they conclude at Newlands on Wednesday.
After their four-match win succession so far in this tour, the Proteas will look to maintain that rolling momentum heading into the fifth and final ODI when they seek to overcome some mental blocks that has hurdled them in the past.
The chokers tag continues to cloud over the Proteas, as they have failed detrimentally to claim cup titles in all formats of the game (T20 World Cups, ODI World Cups or Champions Trophies), yet always remain world beaters.
Inversely, Australia have never lost five matches in a bilateral series before, while they have previously only won two of their six matches played at Newlands. South Africa on the other hand, have won 26 out of 31 matches they have played at the same Newlands ground, which indicates that history is against Australia for the final ODI.
South Africa certainly will have proved a point if they were to overcome Australia on Wednesday, for ultimately overcoming that mental block to not underperforming when they are the favourites. Although it may not be a tournament trophy, it extends as the first step to achieving what many believed to be nearly impossible in the greater scheme of things, while rewriting history at the same time.
Proteas captain, Faf du Plessis, emphasized that it is with this winning attitude that he wants his side to move forward with in order to ascertain their dominance on the world stage.
“As a captain, it’s important with the intensity we play at. That does not always mean verbally, it's body language and the way you carry yourself on the field,” du Plessis told Sport24.
"When there is a battle that asks for another battle to come their way, that will happen. We are a team that will stand up against that. If that's required of us as a team, we will also go into that space, but it’s a very focused and channeled aggression; more of a body language thing,” he added.
The Proteas have showed stern composure in the series so far, especially in the third ODI where South Africa claimed the series win, after winning in circumstances where most teams would have lost, nine times out of 10.
“In Durban [third ODI] they were all over us and it took something magnificent for us to win and it's happening more regularly in this team that guys are doing amazing things,” du Plessis said.
In stating that, everyone is believed to be fit for selection ahead of the final ODI, as the Proteas look to field their best available side after seven front-line players were left out in the fourth ODI in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
“The only slight niggle is Tabraiz Shamsi, who we might not risk ahead of the Test series Down Under. It gives us the opportunity of once again looking at playing as strong an 11 as we can. We want to see what the weather is going to do tomorrow before deciding whether we want to play an extra spinner or not,” he said.
“If you play against Australia, every bit of confidence helps ahead of the Test series. That’s why we really want the 5-0,” he concluded.
The Proteas will visit Australia in November following the conclusion of this ODI series to play three Test matches, upon which they would like to carry their current form.
Play on Wednesday in the fifth ODI is set to start at 13:30PM at Newlands, Cape Town.
Image: Proteas Captain, Faf du Plessis.
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