The Standard Bank Proteas will be treating the fifth Momentum One-Day International (ODI) against India at St George’s Park on Tuesday as a must-win semi-final. The Proteas trail India 3-1 in the series, and must win the remaining two matches to share the series.
Saturday’s heroic five-wicket win at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium has given the squad due confidence and an opening to stay alive in the series. Proteas all-rounder, Andile Phehlukwayo, says the squad never lost hope, and will be looking to continue with a winning trend in another must-win match.
“ We have a very positive team environment,” Phehlukwayo said in Port Elizabeth on Monday. “ We have a good fighting spirit and team culture. We were never down and out, we were always looking to fight back. We never lost hope and we knew we were never far away from a victory.
“ The team has been really positive. We have been training hard, we have good momentum from the last game that we played. We weren’t far away from a victory, the guys have been working hard in the nets and we have been specific about our training. The team environment has been good.”
The batsmen – particularly Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller - countered India’s spin threat successfully, a strategy that came down to staying positive and executing game plans accordingly. Phehlukwayo belted 23 runs off 5 balls to take the team to victory in an astonishing display of death-hitting that has highlighted his potential in the lower-order.
“ We have been doing a lot of analysis,” he said of the success against the spinners. “ We have good game plans and the conditions were different. We had a game plan of being positive and we wanted to look to score from good positions.”
“ The game plan changed, I went in ahead of Chris (Morris) to keep the left-hand right-hand combination going,” he explained. “ I went in trying to be positive, I just watched the ball and tried to execute my game plans to the best of my ability.”
India have never won an ODI at St George’s Park, losing five out of five at the venue.
Play is scheduled to start at 13h00 local time. Tickets for the match are available at www.ticketpros.co.za