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Stunned Bangladesh face South Africa


Stung by the defeat against Zimbabwe on Sunday, Bangladesh will be under immense pressure when they take on favourites South Africa in a must-win Pran RFL Triangular Series cricket encounter at Harare Sports Club today.

Following the morale shattering 11-run defeat, another loss for Richard Pybus and his men could throw the Tigers’ campaign into jeopardy.

The South Africans arrived on Sunday without their limited overs captain AB de Villiers and other stars such as Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, who have been rested.

Bangladesh can, however, underrate their Proteas at their own peril as the current squad is still very strong and well capable of easily winning the tri-series.

Some of the new faces in the squad are debutants Dane Vilas of the Nashua Mobile Cape Cobras, Chris Scott from the Bizhub Highveld Lions and Farhaan Behardien, from the Nashua Titans, all of whom showed exciting potential during South Africa’s domestic season.

South Africa captain Hashim Amla said the main purpose of the tour was to try out different combinations ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 (T20) in Sri Lanka in September.

“We’re expecting to perform well, but I think the crux of the tour is to make sure that the selectors and the coach get the understanding of where they want the team to be at the World Cup.

“There will probably be a lot of chopping and changing. We’re trying to give everyone a chance on this tour.

“We’ve got some really young and exciting players who have just come into the side and we hope that with all the experimenting the selectors and the coach and everyone can get an idea of where they want the team to be, especially before the T20 World Cup,” said Amla.

Alma’s sentiments come despite the fact that the Proteas’ participation in the series has been questioned back in South Africa, as it comes on the eve of their departure for England to contest the No 1 Test ranking.

Former Cricket South Africa selector Hugh Page, said on Sunday: “The guys have had enough of the shorter formats of cricket, particularly with the Indian Premier League (IPL) having been played recently.

“I’m amazed that we would go and play against two lowly ranked sides prior to going to England.
“You would probably get better practice playing within the country in the longer form of the game, against SA A if necessary. The quality of the opposition would likely be twice as good.”

In fact, Page felt the Harare excursion could be counterproductive to SA’s bid to unseat England as the game’s top ranked Test team.

“Our players are good enough to adapt to the change of format, but the more Twenty20 cricket you play the more likely you are to pick up little ill-disciplines that would require you to spend time playing the longer form of the game to undo,” Page told a South African publication, Business Day.

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