Cape Town - Over a billion people are expected to watch the live
broadcast of the opening match of the ICC U19 World Cup Bangladesh 2016 between
the Coca-Cola SA U19s and the hosts, Bangladesh.
An additional 30 000 people will
watch the sold-out match at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Wednesday, 27 January.
South Africa’s captain, Tony de Zorzi believes that his side
is ready for the challenges lying ahead and that they have done all the
preparation that they could to reach this point.
“Our training over the last few weeks has been going well,”
he said this afternoon during his pre-match discussion with the local media.
“The guys are in high spirits before the game and everything is looking
positive on our side. We’ve just got to go out there, do our jobs and enjoy
Having struggled against spin bowling in the recent past, de
Zorzi believes his side has overcome those difficulties.
“Everyone has tried to make sure that their game plan
against spin bowling is fool-proof. We’re sitting in a position now where we
are comfortable with ourselves and our abilities and have done all the
preparation that we can do when it comes to batting against spin.”
When asked about the pressures of being defending champions
and playing against the hosting team, de Zorzi said:
“I think the pressure is equal on both sides. They
(Bangladesh) have a lot to play for and so do we. They will have 30 000
fans at the stadium wanting them to win, which would be stressful to any
18-year-old and we’ll have our own goals that we want to achieve as well. I
think whoever rises to the occasion the best on the day will be victorious.”
Team coach, Lawrence Mahatlane is excited to get the
tournament underway after months of preparation.
“The team is in a really good space at the moment, “ he
said. “They are relaxed because they have been to Bangladesh before, they have
played cricket here, they’ve played the opposition here and back home in South
Africa and there is a certain comfort in that. Tomorrow’s result will go to the
team that gets their game plan right.
“I’m very happy with the preparation so far. I’m very happy
with the squad of 15 that we picked. We’ve given ourselves a lot of options in
terms of batting and bowling, the guys know and understand their roles and
responsibilities and how to go about executing them.”
Mahatlane believes that the team that can execute the three
cricketing disciplines the best, will come out on top.
“It’s been exciting for me to watch our processes come
together. I have to thank Cricket South Africa (CSA) for the support they have
given me to ensure that we get all the right people sharing the right
information with the players. The way the team has just soaked up the knowledge
and put it into practice, I can’t ask for any more as a coach. Tomorrow will
just be about execution,” he concluded.