With the South African team keen to shrug-off the chokers tag, star batsman Hashim Amla has said the experienced campaigners in the squad will need to step up their performance when they take on Sri Lanka in the World Cup quarter-finals at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Wednesday.
“There is no doubt that when you get to the knockout stages you want to be the guy to score the big runs to put the team in a good position,” Amla said at the squad’s training session held in Blacktown, here today.
“Everybody in the team, especially the senior guys, want to be the guys to make the big plays for us; with the bat, ball and in the field,” he added.
Amla says the squad is motivated to improve on the failures of past World Cups and will be embracing the expectation of the occasion. “We are well aware that we haven’t won a knockout game and that serves as good motivation for the guys to make it a first for South African cricket.
“The Proteas will have to curb Sri Lanka’s X-factor players in Kumar Sangakkara and Lasith Malinga, opponents they have faced several times over the last two years. They (Sri Lanka) are a wonderful team, they compete very well at World Cups,” Amla said.
“They seem to be playing good cricket. Thankfully we have played them in the recent past, both teams know each other well. A one-off game like this will be played with good intensity, it’s going to be a good game,” he added.
The Proteas held a lengthy and intense training session today morning to kickstart their preparation. Amla said the guys are raring to go. “We have been fortunate that we were at home for the build-up of this tournament. We came to New Zealand and Australia for a tour, went back home for a month-and-a-half then came back here.