Despite sealing the one-day series against Sri Lanka early, there’s a very good reason for the Proteas to target a whitewash.
Winning the series 5-0 would mean Russell Domingo’s troops would move to No 1 in the official world rankings.
Currently, South Africa are equal on points with Australia, who remain first because they haven’t been surpassed in terms of rankings points.
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There’s talk of the hosts rotating their all-rounders again for Tuesday afternoon’s fourth ODI at Newlands but that doesn’t mean they are becoming complacent.
“The end result is definitely about 5-0. (Tuesday) is the most important game for us but we’ve always had one eye on a whitewash,” said middle-order stalwart JP Duminy.
“It’s always a nice thing to be ranked No.1 and that will be an added bonus for us. But for now it’s about making sure we focus on what’s important for us and that is the preparation leading up to the Champions Trophy in mid-year.”
Last year’s 5-0 thrashing of Australia seems to have cultivated a new sense of ruthlessness in the Proteas side.
Even in the buildup to last weekend’s “pink” ODI, captain AB de Villiers mentioned why it’s important for them to shut out the Islanders.
“In the past, we’ve won series early and then slacked off,” he said.
“The days where 3-2 series wins before a major world tournament is good enough are over. You need to go into a tournament with the most momentum as possible.”
Of course, critics are complaining about the lack of competition Sri Lanka are giving South Africa in this series.
As a result, some are wondering about the point of it all.
But Duminy is confident that will change with the International Cricket Council’s proposal for an ODI league, that will give more meaning to ODIs.
“The best way to answer that is something that Russell Domingo harps on quite a lot,” he said.
“Every game that you play for your country is of importance. If the new system is in place, that puts a lot more emphasis on that. If we are focusing on that, that means we are giving our best throughout the series and for every game.”