Cape Town - Gaining early momentum will be a key boost for the Proteas in their opening match of the Tri-Nation One-Day International (ODI) series against the West Indies at the Guyana National Stadium in Providence on Friday.
A positive start will be ideal given the compact nature of the series, which also features Australia, with each team playing six matches in three weeks culminating with the final on June 26.
The Proteas open up against the hosts with the first ever day/night match to be played at the South American venue, and will be looking to extend their good record against the West Indies after winning five out of seven matches (1 tie) in the last three years.
Captain AB de Villiers also has a phenomenal record against the home team, more notably over the last year where he scored the fastest ODI century (149 off 44 balls) and 162 off 66 balls in the quarter-final of the ICC World Cup in 2015.
“It’s always important to perform no matter who you play,” De Villiers said in Guyana on Thursday. “I have a lot of pride in my performances so I’m hoping to have another good series. There are 15 world-class players here, I know that it takes 15 players to win a tournament like this. From tomorrow on we will try to get some momentum going in the team, if it’s my time to shine and to get that momentum going for the team then so be it, but there are 15 other players who can do that.”
De Villiers insists his team will not underestimate the opposition despite their good record. He believes some of the big hitters in the West Indies squad, along with their familiarity of the local conditions will be big factors to counter in their opening match.
“The normal West Indian game,” he said when asked what he expected of the opposition. “They are going to try and hit the ball around the park and try to win a game of cricket. They always seem to enjoy their cricket, I don’t think it will be any different tomorrow. They always play with a lot of flair and they have some world-class players in their team that can change the game in no time. We have a lot of respect for them as a cricket team and nothing will change tomorrow.”
The match is scheduled to start at 19:00 (SA time).