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Proteas gear up for ICC World Twenty20

Sapa

The South African cricket team have set their sights on gaining some early momentum in the tournament, beginning with their match against Sri Lanka.

Proteas T20 captain Faf du Plessis. (AFP)

The Proteas have their sights set on gaining early momentum in their opening match of the ICC World Twenty20 against Sri Lanka in Chittagong, Bangladesh, on Saturday.

The compact nature of the tournament leaves little room for a slow start against the number one-ranked tournament favourites.

"It's a World Cup with a short turnaround between matches, so momentum is important and so too carrying it with you," captain Faf du Plessis said on Friday.

"We take a lot of confidence from those warm-up matches earlier this week. Sri Lanka will come in with confidence after winning the Asia Cup, so the sort of form you bring into the tournament plays a key role."

The Proteas have a 3-1 advantage in the head-to-head tally against Sri Lanka and held a 2-1 series win away from home last year.

Lethal opponent
Du Plessis said playing Sri Lanka's spinners and the lethal Lasith Malinga would be crucial towards the Proteas' success, as well as having the services of AB de Villiers in the middle order.

"AB is the guy that needs to be winning us games in the middle overs," said Du Plessis. "He is such a good player of spin and that is the hardest part of batting in the sub-continent, so you need your best player to be batting there.

"If he bats up front and gets a good ball, you lose one of you key players early on. From a team point of view, it's nice to know that if you have a good start, you still have a great hitter of the ball to come."

The medical team would make a late call on Du Plessis and fast bowler Dale Steyn's availability for the match on Saturday.

'Intense week'
"It's been an intense week for Dale and myself," said Du Plessis.

"We want to make sure that we are ready for the game tomorrow. As it is right now, we are still assessing and we will both have a late fitness test tomorrow to see if we are ready.

"Dale had a bowl in the nets today and he came through alright, so we will see how he goes tomorrow," said Du Plessis. 

The ICC World Twenty20 tournament takes place from March 16 to April 6 in Bangladesh. – Sapa

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