We will be prepared for a fight, says Protea coach

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2 March 2015

Castle Lager Proteas captain AB de Villiers says his team’s 257-run win against the West Indies on Friday was a good step in the right direction for their ICC Cricket World Cup campaign.

The Proteas put in an almost-perfect showcase at a jovial Sydney Cricket Ground, a performance De Villiers believes was inspired by sheer determination and motivation for a turnaround after the team’s heavy loss to India in their second group match.

Having previously claimed the world records for the fastest ODI 50 and century in his previous destruction of the men from the Caribbean, De Villiers added the fastest 150 to his list of personal milestones with an unbeaten 162 off 66 balls (17 fours and 8 sixes).

Rossouw and De Villiers
Proteas captain AB de Villiers attributes much of his record-setting innings against the West Indies at the ICC World Cup on Friday 27 February 2015 to his team mate, Rilee Rossouw. (Image: Cricket SA)

The performance was an encouraging show of the depth and resources within the squad, with Rilee Rossouw and Kyle Abbott staking claims for more opportunities in the remainder of the tournament.

“I’m happy with everyone’s performance,” De Villiers said after the game.

The Proteas are in Canberra, where they will face Ireland at the Manuka Oval on Tuesday.

Adrian Birrell, the Proteas assistant coach, is expected to play an integral role in the team’s preparations. Birrell coached Ireland from 2002 to 2007, and will be a key source of information having worked with most of their current crop of players at national and junior level.

Birrell says he’s not surprised by Ireland’s current development and progress at international cricket, particularly their knack of “upsetting” the bigger cricketing nations at world events. “They have a strong culture and play an attractive brand of cricket,” he told the media on Sunday at the Manuka Oval in Canberra. “They have a number of good players and since probably 2005 a lot of their players are county players playing cricket fulltime, they are playing professionally.

“In every World Cup they seem to beat a full-member team,” he said of Ireland’s expectations of reaching the knock-outs. “They did that in 2007 when they beat Pakistan and Bangladesh and tied with Zimbabwe. There is the famous win at the 2011 World Cup against England and they have already beaten the West Indies here, it’s very realistic. We are taking them seriously, they are a good team.”

The Proteas’ last outing against Ireland at the 2011 World Cup resulted in a comfortable 131-run win, but Birrell admits they will be a are a stronger force with both bat and ball.

Batting is one of Ireland’s strengths: “They bat long and deep. They know how to chase targets; four out of the top 10 World Cup chases are Ireland chases, three of them over 300 and two against full members. We are fully aware of what they can do, I am probably more aware than most. We will be prepared come Tuesday.”

South Africa plays Ireland at the Manuka Oval in Canberra in an ICC Cricket World Cup Group B match. Match starts at 5.30am SA time.

WORLD CUP MATCHES

Group matches

  • 15 February, 3am: South Africa beat Zimbabwe.
  • 22 February, 5.30am: India beat South Africa.
  • 27 February, 5.30am: South beat West Indies.
  • 3 March, 5.30am: South Africa v Ireland. Manuka Oval, Canberra
  • 7 March, 3am: South Africa v Pakistan. Eden Park, Auckland
  • 12 March, 3am: South Africa v United Arab Emirates. Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Quaterfinals

  • 18 March, 5.30am: Sydney Cricket Ground
  • 19 March, 5.30am: Melbourne Cricket Ground
  • 20 March, 5.30am: Adelaide Oval
  • 21 March, 3am: Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Semifinals

  • 24 March, 3am: Eden Park, Auckland
  • 26 March, 5.30am: Sydney Cricket Ground

Final

  • 29 March, 5.30am: Melbourne Cricket Ground

Source: CricketSA