AB de Villiers says the Castle Lager Proteas are geared up for their “must-win” ICC Cricket World Cup Group B match against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Wellington on Thursday. A win will guarantee that the Proteas finish second in Group B, and sets up a quarter-final clash against the third-placed team in Group A, which at this stage could be either Sri Lanka or Bangladesh.
“It's a very important game,” De Villiers said at the Basin Reserve on Wednesday, the Proteas’ training venue in Wellington this week. “We have to win it, it's not a “maybe we'll win it” kind of game. It's a must-win for us.
We'd really like to get to eight points and make sure we finish second in the group, that's the plan for now. I wouldn't like to get too technical about it (areas to work on) but there are a few guys that I'd like to get into form tomorrow. It will be a good exercise once again for our bowlers to make sure they hit the hard lengths and do the basics really well. But all-round I'd just like a good solid performance.
De Villiers says the plan is to play their strongest possible XI, but that will be determined by the injury status of Vernon Philander and Faf du Plessis.
“If the guys are ready I'd like to play a good strong team tomorrow,” he said. “Vernon we know is very close to 100 percent, if not 100 percent. We'll just have a final look tomorrow morning, it would be nice to give him a go if he is ready.
“Faf is struggling with a little bit of a lower-back stiffness that he's been looking after for a few months now. We're not 100 percent sure about him and his fitness for tomorrow, but once again, those are the two guys we'll assess tomorrow morning before making a final decision.”
The captain says the squad is focusing on the “now” despite a looming quarter-final next week, and have placed all their focus on the encounter at the Wellington Stadium on Thursday.
“We've got to win our game first, otherwise we might actually play Australia in Adelaide,” he said. “There are quite a few options, we'd just like to focus on tomorrow and make sure we have a good win. From there on we'll see where we go in the quarters and start planning accordingly. Whoever we play, I believe we've got the right squad here to come out on top.”
Source - Cricket South Africa Website