The Castle Lager Proteas’ ODI squad will be hoping their good record at Sahara Willowmoore Park gives them the extra advantage in the series-deciding fifth Momentum ODI against Pakistan on Sunday. The Proteas have only lost one match out of the seven played in Benoni, the last being a 272-run win against Zimbabwe, the highest victory margin at the ground.
AB de Villiers (109) alongside JP Duminy (129) were the top scorers in the match, and the Proteas skipper will no doubt take some confidence from his last innings at the ground. De Villiers is the leading run-scorer of the series with 272 runs at an average of 68, and will be key for the Proteas, especially without the experienced services of Graeme Smith.
David Miller scored an impressive 67 in the Proteas’ three-wicket loss in Durban and says he gained a lot of self belief from the knock. The 23 year-old says the absence of Smith will be a “big loss”, but yet another opportunity for a new player to put in a significant performance.
“His record and personality stand for itself,” he said. “He is a great role model for many of the players in the team and he has a great presence amongst the guys in the squad when he is around. In saying that, there are so many other seniors guys in the team that can fill the spot and not having him for the last match is a big loss, but it will be great to see how some of the new faces perform.”
He feels there is extra pressure because of the must-win nature of the match, but as the season winds down the players are more motivated than ever to finish on a high.
“This is what we do and this is what we love,” he commented on the effects of a long season. “It has obviously been a long season for most of the national players, but that is no excuse to pin that down as a reason.”
“We have to win it, there is some pressure attached to that,” he added. “We are looking forward to it and it’s a great opportunity for the players to put their hands up and to close it off.”
“The guys are energetic and ready to go tomorrow,” he said. “We are positive about tomorrow, it has been a great series so far and hopefully we will finish on top.”