Proteas captain Faf du Plessis says he likes batting at No 3, but that he is not sure about where he will line up at the forthcoming World Cup.
Du Plessis scored a breezy 43 off 38 balls (5x4, 1x6) at No 4 as South Africa easily chased down the 190-run target for the loss of four wickets against Sri Lanka at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.
The right-hander, though, has made most of his runs at No 3 in recent months, including an unbeaten 112 not out in the first Sri Lanka clash at the Wanderers.
His form has been crucial, especially in the absence of the unavailable Hashim Amla at the top of the order.
Reeza Hendricks again failed to capitalise on a chance to fight for a World Cup spot by being dismissed for eight on Wednesday, and so too did Aiden Markram, who lost his wicket for 29.
Amla and Rassie van der Dussen are arguably ahead of Markram and Hendricks to join Du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, David Miller and JP Duminy among the batsmen for the World Cup.
“I’m not sure! I like three, I really enjoy three. The thinking is that obviously Aiden has spent most of his career at the top of the order, so it would be an easier transition for him – I’m adapting my game pretty easily (between) three and four,” Du Plessis told SuperSport in the post-match TV interview on Wednesday.
“I feel even Rassie (van der Dussen) to a degree does that really well. He’s got all the different gears to go through as a batter. So, the beautiful thing is that we’ve got guys who can bat in different positions, and I think that’s really important for the World Cup.”
Despite the Proteas making heavy weather of closing out the Sri Lankan innings – with No 9 Isuru Udana smashing 78 off 57 balls (7x4, 4x6) to grab the Man of the Match award – after having them at 97/7, Du Plessis was happy with the display.
“I thought today went really well. Very pleasing to see JP (31 not out) and Dave (25 not out) finish it off there – that’s what we want our middle-order to do, to get stuck in and win games for us,” he said.
"Catches win matches" right?— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) March 13, 2019
DYK: 9 of the 10 wickets taken by the Proteas in today's match were caught.
Have a look at how the boys went about their catching on the field 👇#ProteaFire #SAvSL pic.twitter.com/hES2JKsdG0
“I thought Anrich Nortje (3/57) today was really good. Lungi has been fantastic for us this whole series, Dale bowled well upfront. And then Andi (Phehlukwayo, who claimed 2/21) from an all-rounder perspective, did the job that he needed to do.
“And in the last two games, the batting is starting to tick really nicely.
4/5 for the Proteas ✅— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) March 13, 2019
1 More match remains in the series and the prospect of a series whitewash is still on.
They win the 4th Momentum ODI by 6 wickets. De Kock shone brightest with the bat as he brought up his 4th score of 50 or more in the series.#ProteaFire#SAvSL pic.twitter.com/NKDsC44sPq
“It’s a weird feeling that goes up in your head – because in the back of my mind, I’m thinking it would be nice for those guys to get an opportunity.
“But I’m batting there, and I’m thinking I’ve got to win the game! So, big picture, not the worse thing that Quinton and myself got out today.
“Obviously JP coming back, looking really solid there, beautiful flow. Today was a nice day for everyone to get a run.”
The Proteas will look to wrap up a 5-0 whitewash in the final ODI at Newlands on Saturday (1pm start).@ashfakmohamed