South Africa v Pakistan, 1st T20, Johannesburg November 19, 2013

'We would like two tough games' - du Plessis


Faf du Plessis was attending a function in Johannesburg late on Monday afternoon that took him past the Wanderers Stadium. He saw the floodlights on and, because the domestic season is well underway already, he knew they were not being tested. Instead, something else was happening under them.

"I knew Pakistan were training quite late and I thought they must be practicing quite a lot," du Plessis, South Africa's T20 captain, said. "We're only going to have the one session before the match (on Wednesday)."

South Africa took the weekend and Monday off after their arrival from the UAE. Pakistan, meanwhile, have been hard at work. They decided to rest on Tuesday, when news emerged that two of their players, Abdul Razzaq and Shoaib Malik, have been ruled out of the tour to add to an injury list which also includes Mohammad Irfan, who did not make the trip to South Africa at all.

Pakistan have made use of their time to practice more, an action which du Plessis believes suggests the state of mind they are in. "They will be desperate to put in good performances here and it's important that we don't give them a sniff," du Plessis said.

Despite beating Pakistan in the last five matches, three ODIs and two T20s, du Plessis wants his team to keep the bigger picture in. Complacency at home has occasionally been the undoing of the South African Test team - they did not win a series on home soil between 2009 and 2011 - but du Plessis does not expect that to extend to his T20 team.

"It's still the goal to get to the top of the rankings. Russell [Domingo, the coach] and I have been speaking that language to the guys," he said. What du Plessis wants to ensure is consistent performances to get to No.1.

For that to happen, South Africa could easily think they need to only perform as well as they did in the UAE, where their batting showed greater maturity than it has in the shorter formats all year and their bowling, incisive. But du Plessis wants to push his men beyond that, although he needs Pakistan's help.

"We would like to have two tough games and we want to be able to win in competitive situations and when the pressure is on," he said. "We want to try and emulate what will happen in World Cup situations. Something like the previous game where it was close. Even if we didn't win that, we learnt a lot and it showed we are moving in the right direction."

South Africa beat Pakistan by six runs in Dubai last Friday in a fixture that had its squeaky-bum moments. At 101 for 3 in the 14th over, chasing 151, Pakistan were in the pound seats before South Africa's bowlers engineered a dramatic collapse.

It was the kind of performance du Plessis did not think South Africa were capable of just eight months ago when they were shot out for their lowest T20 total of 100 in a 95-run defeat to Pakistan in Centurion. "We've come a long way from that day," du Plessis said.

Pakistan, though, will have to come a similarly far distance in a much shorter space of time, just four days, if they are to make good on all the practice they've been putting in to stretch South Africa in this series.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dexter on November 20, 2013, 16:08 GMT

    This initiative that SA and Pakistan cricket has taken between themselves is a step in the right direction and is huge for cricket. Cricket is nothing without Pakistan in it, and as a cricket loving person even though I have no ties to any of these nations I must give credit where its due and say that what they have both agreed to is just great, Pakistan cricket is going through some trying times right now but I do believe it will get better and anyone that is willing to step up and support them in anyway is doing the right thing. They have such excellent and high quality players and the nation just continue to breathe excellent and world class professionals just imagine where they would be if they were not confronted with so many of the field issues, I would love to see Pakistan cricket strengthen its ties with Bangladesh and maybe do an Asia Cup test series in Bangladesh and India and all the teams split the revenue evenly. Anything to keep this great cricket nation flag flying high.

  • Android on November 20, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    pakistan will come back and will show everybody know when.pakistan play with rythem no body can defeat pakistan the only problem is the gruop system but today match will change du plessis will see and watch the pakistan will take.over the all match in short time

  • Dummy4 on November 20, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    Bieng a pakistani its dissapointing performance but one thing i can tell you all if our team played with agression and spirit can beat any team at any ground so dont underestimate this team ever..

  • Dummy4 on November 20, 2013, 11:40 GMT

    1st all dont underestimate Pakistan cricket Team.. and as an Indian i Support all asian Team vs others ... i always admired pak cricket Players . but this Team is lacking the killer instinct the former used to ve..just Play with lotts of Passion and dont throw your wickets... best of luck from an indan fan..

  • Android on November 20, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    @cricfan ues i can remember pak beating india in india this year in odi series if india are so good why not play a full series against SA we all know what will happen just as they have lost 12 tests on the go starting from australia to england then back to india where they lost again to england On pakistans note the only team can lose a winning match or come from no where to win a losing game last time pak won 2 odis and a t20 when in SA with pretty much the same team so i wont write them off watched imran khans interview the other day and he has promissed to sort the team out he is going to bring players through a talent search so i for one believe in the great imran we just need the pcb to act as well the future is bright as every one knows when it comes to talent pak can compete with any one we are country of pace bowlers which unfortunately india will never have but at the moment we are going through a phase after dark there is always light

  • ben on November 20, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    Some real cricket fans here.

  • Dummy4 on November 20, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    t-20 series will level.but one day series pak lose.

  • MOHAMMED on November 20, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    The tour of Pak will be like this: 1) Pak will collapse as usual 2) Pak batting will be utter flop. Pak will be bowled out for less than 100 for sure. 3) Pak bowling will also suffer as Irfan is injured. Ajmal cannot do anything on bouncy pitches. 4)PAKISTAN WILL LOSE ALL THE MATCHES ON THIS TOUR. SO ITS GOING TO BE 5-0. 5) Pak is playing this series just for the sake of formality because they themselves know that they cannot win on SA soil at any cost. 6) SO JUST WAITING FOR HUMILIATION TO BEGIN TODAY.

  • Shahab on November 20, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    Agree.. with this side, Pak will not win any match..... also chances look more slim after razzaq and malik out though even their presence would not have changed the outcome. And to top it all, pak team's fielding is subhan allah.... 5-0 for sure.

  • Alley on November 20, 2013, 1:16 GMT

    Another thrashing awaits Pak 5-0 guaranteed

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