The third Momentum ODI against Pakistan at SuperSport Park on Saturday is the ideal opportunity for the Castle Lager Proteas to create some winning momentum ahead of the three-match ODI series against India starting next week. Proteas batsman, Hashim Amla, says the dead-rubber will also be an opportunity for the fringe players to make a contribution, in the absence of some of the senior players.
"It’s quite disappointing to lose the series," Amla said on Friday. "I think there is a lot to play for, obviously Dale (Steyn), Jacques (Kallis) and Graeme (Smith) won’t be playing so from an opportunity point of view it’s great for the other guys to get a go. Leading up to the World Cup, it will help if every player in the squad gets as much game time as possible.
"We know we have India in a few days’ time so it’s important to create some winning culture and momentum," he added. "They are a good team and we need all those things on our side."
The batting has been the obvious letdown during the series, but Amla feels the unit continues to make positive strides, especially after the well-structured chase on Wednesday which failed at the final hurdle.
"The progress is ongoing, even through losses you get a lot out of it," he said. "The chase in the last game was a good chase, we took a lot of positives out of it. The way we kept to our targets after 20, 30 and 40 overs, we just didn't manage to finish it off. From a batting perspective there were a lot of positives that we took from that match. "
The inconsistency in results following the Proteas' 4-1 win in the UAE and Pakistan's current 2-0 lead in South Africa is a true reflection of the current ICC ODI rankings, with the teams occupying the fifth and sixth positions respectively.
"Both teams are quite evenly matched, that’s what we've seen," Amla said. "We managed to cross over the line in the UAE and on this occasion they have managed to do it in some close games. That has probably been the beauty of the contest that we have had."