Centurion: Great place to strike for No 1

2017-02-09 18:04
AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis (Gallo Images)

Cape Town – SuperSport Park seems as good a venue as any for South Africa to target a victory on Friday that would shoot them back to top spot on the ICC one-day international rankings.

They have either won, or at least not lost, all of their last six appearances in the format at the spectator-friendly Centurion ground.

As if they weren’t heavily fancied enough already to secure a 5-0 series clean sweep over Sri Lanka on Friday (13:30 start), those historical statistics suggest even further that the Proteas are unlikely to be thwarted in their drive to reach the front of the global pile with the necessary victory.

In short, South Africa have not slipped up in the 50-overs format at SuperSport Park since early 2013.

Since then, it has been five wins and one no-result … and even in the weather-affected match, against India in December 2013, they were probably strong favourites to win after posting 301 for eight before dinner break saw the heavens open.

A month before that abandonment, they had beaten Pakistan, while in four matches after that, it has been the host nation victorious each time.

First West Indies were beaten by 131 runs (Hashim Amla 133, Rilee Rossouw 132), then New Zealand by 20 runs (Amla 124), England by seven wickets (centuries for each of Amla and Quinton de Kock, and a record opening stand between them of 239), and finally – earlier this summer – Australia by six wickets as De Kock went crazy with his 178 off just 113 deliveries.

If Amla and De Kock seem like regular common denominators in ODI excellence at the ground … well, they are.

In only five matches there, left-hander De Kock has lashed three centuries and averages 86.60, whilst Amla sports four tons from 11 appearances and an average of just under 70.

They have blown a bit hot and cold as an alliance and individually in the present series, as evidenced by opening stands between them of 71 (Port Elizabeth), 19 (Durban), 23 (Johannesburg) and 3 (Cape Town).

Records hint that both could prosper in a big way on Friday …

*South Africa and Sri Lanka have only met twice before in ODIs at SuperSport Park, with the honours standing at 1-1.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


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