Cape Town - Proteas captain, Faf du Plessis, wants his team to play with freedom in the series-deciding fifth one-day international (ODI) against Pakistan at Newlands on Wednesday.
The series is level at 2-2 and is set for an exciting finish after a rollercoaster start.
Du Plessis says although it is a ‘must-win’ match, he has urged his players to prepare for the match like they would for any international.
“For me it is about finding out how we play the big games,” he said to the media at Newlands on Tuesday.
“You don’t want to make it any bigger than it is. It is obviously a big game but sometimes when we do make it a big thing we don’t always bring our best as a team. For me it is about freeing up the guys and to allow them to go out there and express themselves in any way they want.
“We don’t want them to see it as a big game where they have to play differently. In the last two years we have played well in these scenarios and we want to test ourselves every time there is a series-decider.”
The inclusion of 20-year-old all-rounder, Wiaan Mulder, is another opportunity for the selectors to continue trying out options. Mulder has made a strong comeback following an ankle injury, top-scoring with 146 for the Highveld Lions in the ongoing CSA four-day domestic series.
“We would love to win every game that we play but there is a bigger picture for us,” Du Plessis explained.
“That has been very clear, over the last year we haven’t always picked the team that is expected or with the most experienced players. It’s about giving young guys the opportunity to play.”
The ICC Cricket World Cup trophy made the first stop of its South African leg at Newlands on Tuesday, and brought about excitement and anticipation ahead of the tournament starting in the UK at the end of May.
“Every team will be going to the World Cup with the same hopes of trying to win it. There are a lot of strong teams, we are going with less pressure on us as a team, there is less expectation of us winning it. It is quite clear that England and India are the two favourites.
“We have a young group in our squad, the guys are excited about the opportunity. There are a lot of guys still trying to find a place in the World Cup fifteen, it is exciting and we are looking forward to see what the final squad for the tournament will be,” Du Plessis concluded.