New Zealand in SA
Faf draws from 2011 heartache
Faf du Plessis (Gallo Images)
Durban - Faf du Plessis and the Proteas' T20 squad will not be taking New Zealand lightly during the three-match T20 series starting here at Kingsmead on Friday.
Past records and rankings may suggest an easy taking for the Proteas, however, the tenacity of the Black Caps and the unpredictable nature of the T20 format leaves the odds even.
“I rate them quite highly,” the captain said on the eve of the match. “I remember at the World Cup a lot of teams would have said it was going to be an easy game, but I definitely learnt the hard way in terms of that. You can’t underestimate any opposition, and in T20 cricket it makes them even more dangerous because they have quite a few match winners.” Gallery: Proteas practice session
During the 2011 World Cup in India, New Zealand stunned South Africa by 49 runs in the quarter-finals - a game Du Plessis probably still has nightmares of. He was responsible for the run-out of team-mate AB de Villiers at a crucial junction in the run-chase as the Proteas capitulated under pressure.
And Du Plessis now hopes to pass down his past experiences against New Zealand to help the younger players in his squad.
“One thing the Kiwis always bring to the party is competitiveness,” he said. “Luckily I have played a couple of series against them so we can share that knowledge with the younger guys so that they know what to expect. They are very competitive so we are expecting a tough series.”
The 28-year-old has had a superlative run in the last couple of months, with the highlight being his match-saving century on debut against Australia in Adelaide. He has remained humble and grounded when many would find it difficult to cope with the hype and glory.
"I’m very grateful for the last couple of months, it’s been really good,” he added. “I know that I have to keep my feet on the ground because it can change very quickly. I’m still practising really hard, making sure that I tick all the boxes and hopefully that good form can continue.”
Play starts from 18:00 on Friday.Proteas T20 squad:
Faf du Plessis (captain), Farhaan Behardien, Henry Davids, Quinton de Kock, Justin Ontong, Rory Kleinveldt, Richard Levi, David Miller, Morné Morkel, Chris Morris, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.