ICL: Indian Cricket League

South Africa feel the weight of expectation


mickyMickey Arthur, the South Africa coach, said his team felt “added pressure” to beat Ireland on Tuesday as they tried to set themselves up to progress past the Super Eights stage. Arthur also said South Africa wanted to avoid a rematch with Australia in the semi-finals.

South Africa face Ireland and Bangladesh this week and need a more convincing performance than in their warm-up game when Ireland nearly pinched a shock victory. South Africa were in trouble at 91 for 8 before Andrew Hall led a recovery that inched them to 192. Ireland were on track to overhaul the total until they lost 18 for 6 in a late collapse.

Arthur said beating Ireland and Bangladesh, which would give South Africa six points from three matches, was crucial. “They are huge games because when you sit down and make plans for the rest of the tournament, they are both ‘banker’ games and, with games like that, there comes an added pressure,” Arthur told AFP.

“If things go well, we would also hope to work a little bit on our net run-rate because, in the event of two teams finishing with the same number of points after the Super Eights, they will be divided by their overall run rate. But first prize is to leave Guyana with six points - if we can do that I’ll be a very happy man.”

South Africa almost choked in their opening Super Eights match against Sri Lanka after Lasith Malinga’s four wickets from four balls. Arthur said the tense win had “taken quite a few years off my life”.

“At five wickets down with four runs needed to win, I started packing away the kit bags, but then it suddenly became very hectic,” he said. “It was always going to take something extremely special to derail us from there and Malinga certainly nearly delivered it.”

Arthur said South Africa’s best chance to make the World Cup final would be to avoid the defending champions. “Based on current form I wouldn’t mind staying away from Australia in the semi-finals,” he said. “Right now I firmly believe the last four teams will be Australia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and South Africa based on what I have seen but we still have an awful lot of work to do to be sure of our place.”

Source:Cricket Worldcup

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