CARDIFF – South Africa have only ever won one knockout game at a World Cup. Now Rassie van der Dussen believes the Proteas can win five virtual “quarter-finals” here in the United Kingdom.
It may be bordering on the ridiculous, but Van der Dussen refuses to rule out a virtual miracle occurring.
“We have five quarter-finals. That’s how we are looking at it. It’s not nine games anymore. We know what we need to do. We are positive about it. Yes, we are playing one or two really strong teams, but we also playing teams we have beaten recently. That we know we can beat. We know exactly what we need to do,” said Van der Dussen.
Easier said than done though, surely?
“We are not beating about the bush. We know it must click, but we also have to make it click. We know there is no hiding away. Pressure is nothing new. As a sportsman you are always under pressure, and a national sportsman even more so. It is nothing new to us. You have to learn to deal with the pressure and perform under it. We all know how to do it,” Van der Dussen said.
Van der Dussen has been South Africa’s highest run-scorer thus far at this World Cup, but against India it seemed the usually unflappable middle-order batsman was like a deer caught in the headlights.
Leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was introduced into the attack, and instead of Van der Dussen staying patient, he immediately reverted to an ill-judged reverse-sweep that changed the complexion of the entire game.
With tomorrow’s opponents Afghanistan also boasting two stellar white-ball spinners Rashid Khan and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, the gauntlet has been laid down again.
“I have played that shot so many times in my career. For me it one of the shots I go to get a boundary and transfer the pressure back to the bowler.
“I don’t believe it will turn with weather we’ve had, and we also playing on a fresh pitch. I don’t think the ball will spin a whole lot and then you can play with a straight bat up the ground with a lot more confidence.”@ZaahierAdams