Gary Kirsten’s South Africa, which is high on confidence having played some excellent cricket in the past year, will take on Zimbabwe in a Group C match here on Thursday.
Zimbabwe lost to Sri Lanka by 82 runs in the tournament opener on Tuesday night and though the match got over by 11 p.m., the team was back at the ground at 10 a.m. on Wednesday — which is over an hour’s drive from the hotel in Hambantota — and began practising in right earnest.
Asked how South Africa would rate itself in the tournament, Hashim Amla, said the World Twenty20 was a short tournament and the South African focus has been on one game at a time.
“It is too early to say who the favourites are. I think we are basically concentrating on our game tomorrow and I think as the tournament progresses, it will become clearer who [the favourites are],” he said.
On his own entry into the team in the shortest format of the game, Amla admitted that he was relatively inexperienced in the Twenty20 format.
“But fortunately I managed to get some runs in England which helped my confidence. I’m playing in a very good team. And that really helps as well,” he said.
Asked where he would like to bat, he said if the selectors chose him, he would like to be “in the top three.”
A victory will be a good start to the tournament, but this did not mean that South Africa had to match Sri Lanka’s manner of beating Zimbabwe, added Amla.
Meanwhile, Albie Morkel, who is down with back spasms, will have a fitness test on Thursday. “We still feel there is a chance he might play,” said team manager Mohammed Moosajee.
Half the team is down with diarrhoea but the manager was confident that they would be in shape for the match on Thursday.
The teams (from):
South Africa: A.B. de Villiers (capt.), Hashim Amla, Farhaan Behardien, Johan Botha, JP Duminy, Francois du Plessis, Jacques Kallis, Richard Levi, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Justin Ontong, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Dale Steyn and Lonwabo Tsotsobe.
Zimbabwe: Brendan Taylor (capt.), Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Malcolm Waller, Elton Chigumbura, Craig Ervine, Graeme Cremer, Ray Price, Kyle Jarvis, Chris Mpofu, Richard Muzhange, Brian Vitori, Prosper Utseya and Forster Mutizwa.
Match starts at 7.30 p.m.
Keywords: Twenty20 World Cup