Zimbabwe in SA

It's no warm-up game - Botha

2010-10-07 20:13
Johan Botha (Gallo Images)

Bloemfontein - Proteas captain Johan Botha said his side would not be treating the Twenty20 game against Zimbabwe in Bloemfontein on Friday night as a warm-up game, and hoped his team would play well enough to win.

"We're definitely taking Zimbabwe seriously. It's officially the start of our summer and this is no warm-up game," Botha said on Thursday.

Zimbabwe have won only three of their 12 official T20 games, but secured a shock victory over Australia in the inaugural World T20 in 2007.

They have also achieved surprise wins over Australia and Pakistan in warm-up matches.

"They're an international side and have beaten some big teams in the past, so we'll still have to play pretty well," Botha said.

"When teams are regarded as underdogs, they are dangerous. If one guy gets 80 off 50 balls or if one of their bowlers takes three or four wickets, it puts us under pressure.

"We know these guys are capable of it, so hopefully we can stop them and play well enough to win."

Botha was appointed captain of the T20 side following the resignation of Graeme Smith in August, but the former captain remained in the squad.

"Graeme obviously has a lot of experience and it's nice to have someone like that in your team," Botha said.

"If things get tough, he's always available for me, so as far as I'm concerned it's a good thing he didn't just stop and go away.

"As captain, I'll just try to be myself, do things on the field as I see it and hopefully make the right decisions.

"In T20 cricket, you want to stay one step ahead, so that's what I'll try and do.

"Every captain wants his team to do well. I just want the guys to really enjoy it and to play for each other and to help each other out in the field."

In the Zimbabwean camp, there was still no word on batsman Grant Flower, who was having trouble obtaining the correct emergency travel documents after his passport expired.

It is unlikely he will arrive in time for Friday's match but the team coach, Alan Butcher, said he hoped Flower would still play a part on the tour.

South Africa will meet Zimbabwe in their second T20 game in Kimberley on Sunday before the three-match One-day International series starts in Bloemfontein next Friday.

SA squad: Johan Botha (capt), Loots Bosman, JP Duminy, Colin Ingram, Heino Kuhn (wk), Ryan McLaren, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Wayne Parnell, Robin Peterson, Graeme Smith, Rusty Theron, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Zimbabwe squad: Elton Chigumbura (capt), HamiltonMasakadza , Chamu Chibhabha, Tatenda Taibu (wk), Shingirai Masakadza, Ian Nicolson, Prosper Utseya, Graeme Cremer, Charles Coventry, Ed Rainsford, Chris Mpofu, Keith Dabengwa, Brendan Taylor.

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