SYDNEY: South Africa’s Hashim Amla is convinced his struggling opening partner Quinton de Kock will be soon be back among the runs as the Proteas look to bury their reputation as World Cup “chokers” in the knockout stages.
Amla, described as the “rock” of the team by skipper AB de Villiers after his 159 against Ireland earlier in the tournament, has not consistently produced his best form so far.
With 307 runs to his name, though, his performances with the bat have far outstripped those of 22-year-old De Kock, whose six innings have produced just 53 runs.
With the South Africa openers charged with laying the platform for some prolific batting down the order, it is something of a concern heading into their quarter-final against Sri Lanka in Sydney on Wednesday.
Amla is well aware of the role the duo play for the side, however, and on Sunday dismissed the idea that De Kock’s string of failures was also making him bat more aggressively.
“You’ve got to look at the context of the game, sometimes you get a loose ball up front and you manage to score from that, unconsciously you score quickly,” the 31-year-old told reporters.
“But I haven’t consciously been any more attacking. Quinny will come good at some stage.
“My game plan is to bat for as long as possible and to set the game up for the guys to have fun at the end. When you do set the game up, we have players who can blow teams away at the death.”
South Africa arrived at the tournament as one of the favourites but losses in pool games to India and Pakistan have dented the confidence of their fans.
Amla said it was important for the more experienced players to step up at the business end of the tournament.
“There is no doubt that when you get to the knockout stages you want to be the guy to score the big runs to put the team in a good position,” he added.
“Everybody in the team, especially the senior guys, wants to be the guys to make the big plays for us — with the bat, or with the ball or even in the field.”
The stuttering start to the tournament has convinced some that South Africa, who have never got past the semi-finals at the World Cup, will again crumble under pressure.
“We are well aware that we haven’t won one,” said Amla.
“That serves as a wonderful motivation for the guys to make it a first for South African cricket.”