Town - Proteas skipper Faf
du Plessis was clearly frustrated at the malfunctioning
floodlights at Newlands on Saturday night that prematurely brought an end to
the 5th ODI against Sri Lanka.
By the time play was called off,
the hosts had done enough to ensure that they were well ahead of the
Duckworth-Lewis par score, securing a dominant 5-0 win over a Sri Lankan outfit
that looked all at sea for most of the series.
While the result was never in any
doubt, Du Plessis would have liked to see his batsmen tested a bit more with
this the final ODI before the 15-man World Cup squad is announced.
Aiden Markram (67*) was robbed of
the opportunity to get to three figures while JP Duminy, who did not bat, could
also have benefited from some time in the middle.
Du Plessis and the Proteas will
now turn their attention to a three-match T20 series against the Lankans that
starts at Newlands on Tuesday, but absolutely all the focus between now and May
30 will be on the World Cup.
South Africa have now won their
last five ODI series against
Sri Lanka (twice), Zimbabwe, Australia and Pakistan, but they are far from
favourites heading into the World Cup despite that good run of white ball
That honour is instead shared
between hosts England and India, while even Australia are given more of a
chance than the Proteas by most bookmakers.
"Obviously England at home
are one of the favourites and India and Australia have proven that they are
good tournament teams," Du Plessis said after Saturday's frustrating day
out at Newlands.
"I think it comes down to
form as a team and as individuals. If you have three or four of your batting
line-up hitting purple patches it literally changes the whole tournament.
"Nobody would have said
Pakistan would have been close to favourites moving into the Champions Trophy
(in 2016), but they managed to bowl really well as a unit and kept bowling
sides out and surprised a lot of teams.
"It's nice to go as a team
that is not spoken of a lot. I like the fact that we are going with less
pressure. As a team we are going there as prepared as we can be in that
Du Plessis added that South
Africa's bowling remained key to any World Cup success, but the series against
Sri Lanka also saw the side improve tremendously with the bat.
"It's great to win 5-0, but
for me it was more about making sure that we improved on a few things in the
series and I felt that happened," he said.
"After the second ODI we
weren't happy with the way we had batted and since then we have been good with
the bat. The bowling spoke for itself.
"It's not the result in the
series that were most important to us as a leadership group. If we lost two or
three games but took strides towards where we want to go as a team, it would
also have been successful."
A number of the players - Du
Plessis, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir, Quinton de Kock, Anrich Nortje and Kagiso
Rabada - will soon be departing for IPL duty while the rest of the squad have
the Momentum One Day Cup and the domestic T20 competition to look forward