Wellington - Skipper AB de Villiers says the Proteas are geared
up for their “must-win” Cricket World Cup Group B match against the United Arab
Emirates (UAE) in Wellington on Thursday.
A win will guarantee that the Proteas finish
second in Group B, and will set up a quarter-final clash against the
third-placed team in Group A, which looks likely to be Sri Lanka.
“It's a very important game,” De Villiers
said at the Basin Reserve on Wednesday, the Proteas’ training venue in
Wellington this week. “We have to win it, it's not a ‘maybe we'll win it’ kind
of game. It's a must-win for us.
“We'd really like to get to eight points
and make sure we finish second in the group, that's the plan for now. I
wouldn't like to get too technical about it (areas to work on) but there are a
few guys that I'd like to get into form tomorrow. It will be a good exercise
once again for our bowlers to make sure they hit the hard lengths and do the
basics really well. But all-round I'd just like a good solid performance.”
De Villiers says the plan is to play their
strongest possible XI, but that will be determined by the injury status of
Vernon Philander and Faf du Plessis.
“If the guys are ready I'd like to play a
good strong team tomorrow,” he said. “Vernon we know is very close to 100
percent, if not 100 percent. We'll just have a final look tomorrow morning, it
would be nice to give him a go if he is ready.
“Faf is struggling with a little bit of a
lower-back stiffness that he's been looking after for a few months now. We're
not 100 percent sure about him and his fitness for tomorrow, but once again,
those are the two guys we'll assess tomorrow morning before making a final
The captain says the squad is focusing on
the “now” despite a looming quarter-final next week, and have placed all their
focus on the encounter at the Wellington Stadium on Thursday.
got to win our game first, otherwise we might actually play Australia in
Adelaide,” he said.
“There are quite a few options, we'd just
like to focus on tomorrow and make sure we have a good win. From there on we'll
see where we go in the quarters and start planning accordingly. Whoever we
play, I believe we've got the right squad here to come out on top.”
* Thursday's game in Wellington starts at 03:00 (SA time).
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