‘Slightly better’ Proteas ready for Netherlands ODI challenge

Proteas opening batter Quinton de Kock will be hoping to take his recent top form into their crucial ODI series against the Netherlands starting at Willowmoore Park in Benoni on Friday afternoon. PHOTO: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

The Proteas are primed and ready to go all out in their quest for World Cup qualification when they take on the Netherlands in the first of two ODIs at Willowmoore Park in Benoni on Friday afternoon.

It is the final two games for the Proteas in the World Cup Super League, which decides the eight automatic qualifiers for the 2023 ODI World Cup, and the hosts need to win both games to give them the best chance of qualifying.

The Proteas currently sit in 10th place, out of the automatic qualifying spots, but two wins over the Netherlands will push them up to eighth spot, with them then needing to keep an eye on Ireland who could pass them if they whitewash Bangladesh three-nil in their ODI series later in the year.

‘Bad day’ at T20 World Cup
However their full focus will be on the Netherlands, who unceremoniously dumped them out of the T20 World Cup last year, so the Proteas will be desperate to show that they have improved since then.

“We are largely the same, maybe slightly better. During that game I think it was just a really bad day for us as players and South Africans in general,” said Quinton de Kock in a pre-match press conference on Thursday afternoon.

“It was sad that it had to be that game. But before that we were playing pretty good cricket and we are still playing pretty good cricket now.

“So we just need to make sure that we rock up, not take things for granted and make sure we come out firing on all cylinders.”

Mixed results

They have had mixed recent results, winning the Test series, drawing the ODI series and losing the T20I series, but the Proteas head into the Netherlands games with some good momentum off the back of their multi-series campaign against the West Indies.

The team is also under new management, with Rob Walter at the helm and they are trying to improve their brand of cricket, which they will continue doing against the Netherlands.

“Obviously it’s quite nice, the fact that a lot of the guys got a lot of time out in the middle and got some form,” admitted De Kock.

“We are trying to play an aggressive but clever brand of cricket. We are making sure we choose the right options and not just swinging at everything. It doesn’t work like that, especially in the longer format.

“So we need to be clever and more strategic in how we want to score more boundaries and up our strike rate.

“We are still a work in progress, so we will fail from time to time. But things have been working for us, the guys seem to be really enjoying it and it looks like we are coming together for this new way we want to play.”