SOUTHAMPTON – Proteas captain Faf du Plessis has pledged his support behind veteran opening batsman Hashim Amla to find form at the World Cup.
Although South Africa’s fourth match of the competition at the Rose Bowl against the West Indies was abandoned after just 7.3 overs yesterday, there was enough time for West Indian paceman Sheldon Cottrell to dismiss both Hashim Amla (6 off 7) and the recalled Aiden Markram (5 off 10) to leave the Proteas delicately placed on 29/2.
Amla has endured a stop-start World Cup after being hit on the head by England paceman Jofra Archer in the opening game at The Oval.
He missed the next match against Bangladesh, but has now failed in both matches at the Rose Bowl.
Du Plessis believes that the conditions in Southampton, where it has been gloomy and overcast, have provided the seam bowlers with plenty of assistance.
“Hash is a class player. It is tough on a wicket like that opening the innings. You need a bit of luck to go your way. If you get through that 10/15 overs, that’s when the scoring comes.
“We have seen in the last game, and again today, that first 10/15 overs can be a little tricky. There is more pace and bounce in the wicket, and the nature of it is that you lose wickets,” Du Plessis said.
There was plenty of consternation surrounding Amla’s initial inclusion in the Proteas’ 15-man World Cup squad, with plenty of critics believing that the 36-year-old should have been excluded for Highveld Lions opener Reeza Hendricks.
With SA’s entire World Cup campaign balancing on a tightrope, Du Plessis feels that Amla will get back to form before it’s too late.
“We are hoping that it’s around the corner for him,” Du Plessis said.
SA can now only reach a maximum of 11 points should they win their remaining five matches, starting with Afghanistan in Cardiff on Saturday.@ZaahierAdams