The Proteas will be aiming for a positive start to their ICC World Twenty20 Super Eight campaign when they take on Pakistan at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on Friday. Proteas assistant coach, Russell Domingo, insists the team is aware of the threat that their opponents pose, but are equally confident of their skills and preparation.
“We want to make sure we start the Super Eight’s well, we don’t want to be playing catch-up cricket,” Domingo said after a lengthy practice at the R. Premadasa on Wednesday. “In saying that, there are so many things that can affect the outcome of a T20 match, so we want to focus on our skills and our processes and not worry too much about the result upfront.”
The Proteas have been pitted in the so-called “Group of Death”, featuring 2009 champions Pakistan, 2007 champions India and 2010 runner-ups Australia. The top two teams from the group will qualify for the semi-finals and with rain in the region causing uncertainty, starting well will be essential.
“They (Pakistan) are a quality side, we have a lot of respect for them,” Domingo said. “They have some good game-breakers and match winners, but we are looking forward to it. We will do our homework over the next couple of days, guys will prepare really well and we’ll go into the encounter confident in our ability and skills.”
Saeed Ajmal’s potency has been the talk of the tournament, with the No.1 T20 bowler drawing attention for the several variations in his armoury. The squad has prepared well for the spin-friendly conditions they expect, and may play two spinners at the venue as they did earlier in the tournament against Zimbabwe.
“The guys have worked hard on their skills against spin over the last couple of weeks, especially knowing that it’s going to be important at this stage of the competition. We will have some plans (for Ajmal), and those will hopefully be revealed on Friday.
“The beauty of our batting line-up is that we have a lot of variety, different sets of batting skills in our line-up. Guys can use their feet, guys can sweep, guys can reverse sweep; so we have some very good options in our line-up.”