SA at home at Wankhede

SA at home  at Wankhede

 South Africa couldn’t have hoped for a better venue than the Wankhede Stadium to kick-off their WT20 campaign. The last time they played here, three of their batsmen plundered centuries as they posted a mighty 438/4 to steamroll India and pocket the five-match ODI series 3-2.

“It’s a great ground to start off your campaign,” said Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis at the pre-match press conference. “Wankhede is so much closer to our conditions back home. The crowd is great and lot of our guys have got to play T20 cricket in a stadium like this. We are really excited and looking forward to a great game.

“The great thing about this stadium is it produces a lot of runs. It’s a nice T20 run feast. So you try and make sure you capitalise on it. I suppose you can compare it to the Wanderers in South Africa, you just don’t know what’s enough on this wicket. You put a great total, sometimes it’s not enough.”

The Wankhede is also a special stage for their maverick batsman AB de Villiers. In his last two outings he has struck centuries — the first a scintillating 133 not out in an IPL match against Mumbai Indians last season and then a 61-ball 119 against India in the final ODI last October.

“AB is in good form at the moment. The past performances play a big role when you come to a ground. Few of us did well in the final (ODI) against India. And you use that to your advantage, try and replicate those performances. Looking forward to what AB does for us in this tournament. As I mentioned we have got a few guys who are raring to go. For me, our entire batting line-up is in form. It’s a dangerous sign for the opposition, its just about putting it together on the day.”

South Africa will be taking on an England side low on confidence. They’ve lost their last six international matches, including five against South Africa. Du Plessis said they would be looking make the most out of a ripe England, who were battered into submission by Chris Gayle on Wednesday night at the same ground.

“Obviously when you are playing a team, you are hoping they are not that confident. But in a World Cup there is also a possibility that if you don’t rock up on a day, any team can beat you. It’s been proven so many times. Having said that, we go into tomorrow’s game with the confidence of having beaten them in South Africa. But we do know tomorrow is going to be a completely different game.

We are hoping to put England under pressure and hoping that they fall back into the mentality that they are not confident of winning the game. You give them a sniff, they can bounce back.”

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