Wesley Botton

By Wesley Botton

Chief sports journalist

Battle of ‘egos’, says De Kock, as Proteas gear up for Australia clash

"Both teams are strong teams, and both have got big egos."

After getting off to a spectacular start, experienced batter Quinton de Kock has warned that the Proteas must avoid becoming overconfident in the early stages of the Cricket World Cup, as they prepare to face Australia in their second match of the tournament on Thursday.

The SA team opened their campaign with a 102-run victory over Sri Lanka last week following a record-breaking effort with the bat in New Delhi.

In the build-up to the tournament, however, they had lost five white-ball games before hitting back with three straight ODI victories on their home tour against Australia.

And as they geared up for another clash with the Australians (starting at 10.30am in Lucknow on Thursday morning) De Kock said it was important for the players to keep themselves grounded, with more than five weeks of competition remaining at the global showpiece.

“It’s only one game into the World Cup, so it’s hard to say how we’re really going,” De Kock said yesterday.

“Even though we’ve had it really well our last couple of games, it hasn’t been over a course of years. It’s only been over the course of a month or a couple of months.

“So yeah, I think in order for us to be the best we need to be, we still need to be a bit more consistent, especially in tight games like World Cups. And yeah, that will determine actually how good we are.”

Crunch fixture

Australia were handed a six-wicket defeat in their opening match of the quadrennial tournament against hosts India on Sunday.

It was their fourth straight loss in official ODI matches, but De Kock pointed out that the five-time World Cup champions were always going to be dangerous.

Whoever emerged victorious from the crunch fixture would need to dig deep, he predicted.

“Both teams are strong teams, and both have got big egos. Both want to win, want to beat each other,” said De Kock, who expected a tight contest against their perennial rivals.

“So I think that’s what it just comes down to. Whoever comes out and makes the best decisions in the biggest pressure situation will probably be the winner at the end of the day.”

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