Proteas’ Anrich Nortje excited for his first ’Pink Day’ against Pakistan
CAPE TOWN – There may not be the usual fan-fare associated with "Pink Day" this year due to Covid-19, but Proteas speedster Anrich Nortje is still itching to be unleashed at the Wanderers in the second ODI against Pakistan on Sunday.
The annual match designated to raise funds for cancer research is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this season. It would have been the biggest party yet, but with no spectators allowed inside the ground under lockdown Level 1 regulations it will be quieter than usual.
Nortje, though, remains exited about playing in his first "Pink Day" as a Protea, especially due to the history associated with the event. The Proteas have usually kept their best performances for this match over the years, with particularly Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers entertaining the fans royally with some majestic performances.
"I've watched the games from home before, but to be involved in one now is really exciting. Looking on from the outside, it always looked everyone just had a bit more energy," Nortje said.
The Proteas will certainly hope Nortje can crank up the speed gun again like he did in the thrilling first ODI at SuperSport when he almost single-handedly bowled the home team to victory from the gaping jaws of defeat. Although the Proteas eventually went down by three wickets on the final ball, Nortje had given them a real chance with fiery burst that saw Pakistan slump from 186/1 to 203/5.
Nortje certainly has fond memories of the Bullring too for he claimed his maiden Test five-for at the Wanderers against England last year and will hope the surface is even more responsive than SuperSport Park was.
"It was a little bit on the slower side than usual at Centurion. But still there was bounce and if you put in the energy, there were rewards on offer. The new ball was difficult to face for both sides," said Nortje, who will leave for the IPL after the second ODI.
"We back ourselves to do well at these two grounds, especially against a subcontinent team. It was a bit disappointing but lessons learnt that hopefully we can take into the next game."
The Proteas batsmen will certainly hope they can counter the Pakistani pacemen, who also relished the bowler-friendly conditions.
It was a good effort to eventually post 273/6 courtesy of a maiden ODI century from Rassie van der Dussen, but it is not ideal to be rebuilding from the tricky position of 55/4.
It is expected that Aiden Markram will once again start the innings with Quinton de Kock, although Cape Cobras opener Janneman Malan should feel really aggrieved after scoring a century in the last ODI series against Australia and also topping the run-scoring charts in the domestic 1-Day Cup.
Proteas ODI squad
Temba Bavuma (captain), Quinton de Kock (wk), Beuran Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, Janneman Malan, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Jon-Jon Smuts, Rassie van der Dussen, Junior Dala, Lutho Sipamla, Wiaan Mulder, Sisanda Magala, Kyle Verreynne, Daryn Dupavillon, Lizaad Williams.
Start: 10am, TV: Supersport