An ordinary outing against Pakistan notwithstanding, South African paceman Morne Morkel has backed his team to “deliver something special” in their crucial ICC Champions Trophy match against India. The South Africans, who lost to Pakistan by 19 runs under the Duckworth/Lewis method at Edgbaston last night, will be desperate for a victory against India on Sunday to keep their hopes of making the semifinals alive. With figures of 3/18 in seven overs, Morkel was the standout performer in the defeat.
“Sunday is a big day for us. It’s going to take a big team effort to knock over India. But we have to back ourselves to win,” Morkel said after his team’s match yesterday. “Today, we need to write off, just see it as an average game. Hopefully, on Sunday we can turn it up and deliver something special.”
He is aware of the threat Virat Kohli could pose and when asked what plans he has for the India captain, who made an unbeaten 81 against Pakistan last weekend, Morkel told reporters: “I was hoping you guys could tell me that”. Morkel, a veteran of 111 ODIs, may have done enough to retain his place after an uncertain period.
“The last eight months there have been a lot of uncertainties. When I got on the field, I said to myself this is really an opportunity for me to stand up and unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be,” the 32-year-old Morkel said. Meanwhile, South Africa’s coach Russell Domingo has backed AB de Villiers, who has had a quiet tournament so far, to fire against India.
Batting mainstay de Villiers fell cheaply in the team’s two outings including a first-ball duck in his 212th ODI innings against Pakistan last night, but Domingo refused to read much into it.
“Everybody gets first-ballers, it’s just taken him 200 games. I’ve got no concerns with AB de Villiers,” said Domingo. “I’m expecting a big performance from him on Sunday. He’s that type of player that when the team needs him he’ll turn it up.”
Regarding their outing against Pakistan, the coach added, “We haven’t played good cricket and we’ve got to take that on the chin. Pakistan played better than us and it had absolutely nothing to do with complacency as far as I’m concerned.”