NEW DELHI: Skipper Faf du Plessis said his South African side will try to salvage some national pride against demoralised Sri Lanka in their final World T20 match in New Delhi today.
Both teams have failed to qualify for the semi-finals after disappointing performances in the group stages, and will be looking to head home with a win under their belts at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.
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The Proteas’ hopes of clinching a first international trophy were dented in their opening game, when England chased down a record 230 runs to win.
They comfortably beat minnows Afghanistan by 37 runs as expected, but lost a thriller when the West Indies successfully chased 123 with just two balls to spare and Sri Lanka’s defeat to England on Saturday sealed their fate.
“The difference in getting across the line in big games is when big players step up,” said Du Plessis of his side which boasts Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn. “I am a fighter and I know we’ve got a lot of fighters in our team. We are playing for South Africa, we are wearing the Protea badge.”
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Title holders Sri Lanka also suffered two out of three losses, further evidence of the team’s decline over the last two years, a process accelerated by the retirements of batting stalwarts Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
Sri Lanka were in crisis from the eve of the tournament when their selectors were sacked and veteran bowler Lasith Malinga was dropped as skipper for Angelo Mathews.
Mathews, who struck a valiant 73 not out in his team’s 10-run loss against England on Saturday, admitted the defending champions had failed to live up to expectations.
“It’s been a disappointing few months for all of us. We have let down our fans, we let down the whole country. And we haven’t played good cricket at all,” said skipper Angelo Mathews.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2016.
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