Dale Steyn during a practice session
Chittagong: South Africa would look to boost their net-run-rate with a big win against the Netherlands in a Group 1 Super 10 match of the ICC World T20, on Thursday.
After scraping to a narrow two-run win over New Zealand, riding on heroics of Dale Steyn, South Africa now have a chance to improve on the negative net run rate (-0.075) as they are unlikely to be challenged by the minnows.
With one defeat and a win, South Africa are placed third with two points and Thursday is their chance to move up before they face more serious challenge against England, on Saturday.
New Zealand too are on two points with similar results, but they are placed second due to a better net run rate of +0.276.
Sri Lanka are sitting pretty on top with two wins and the fight for the second place is three-way among South Africa, New Zealand and England.
South Africa have a formidable batting line up and a decent bowling attack, which makes them one of the most balanced teams in this tournament.
The form of Morne Morkel, though, would be a worry for the team. The tall pacer was taken to cleaners by the New Zealand batsmen with no problem whatsoever and he ended up leaking 50 runs in his three overs.
It will only create more pressure on Steyn, who as captain Faf du Plessis has said is their trump card.
Batting doesn’t seem to be a problem for the Proteas, but the top-order needs to be more aggressive. Hashim Amla is not a big hitter, but his presence in the prevailing slow conditions is assuring. JP Duminy is in great touch. However, the South African batsmen need to convert the good starts into big ones.
It is a tremendous challenge for the Netherlands, who are coming into the match after suffering one of the heaviest T20 defeats in the history of the game, to make it a contest against one of the best teams in international cricket.
In the qualifiers, they showed they are a good unit. Skipper Peter Borren along with Stephen Myburgh and Wesley Barresi form the backbone of their batting. But it remains to be seen how they regroup and recover from that morale-sapping defeat against Sri Lanka after being all out for 39 — the lowest total in T20 history.
They have nothing to lose and therefore should give it their all. Pacer Timm van der Gugten is a good prospect.