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Thu Apr 24 05:41:27 SAST 2014

Any kind of win is good, says Amla

ALVIN REEVES in Hambantota | 20 September, 2012 06:030 Comments
South African batsman Hashim Amla picks up some runs during the second NatWest T20 game between England and South Africa

HASHIM Amla said the Proteas are under no pressure to match Sri Lanka's destruction of Zimbabwe when they meet their neighbours in the team's opening World Twenty20 fixture here today.

Sri Lanka and South Africa are among the favourites to lift the trophy on October 8 and the teams will square-off in the final Group C match on Saturday.

Sri Lanka kick-started their campaign with an obliteration of Zimbabwe on Tuesday evening, thrashing them by 82 runs.

It would take a special performance from South Africa to even get close to matching that and Amla chose his words carefully yesterday.

"I won't say we need to match them," said Amla.

"We just need to start well. I think getting a victory in whatever way is a good start and that's what we're looking for."

The in-form batsman was also not claiming the favourites tag for South Africa.

"A lot of people have said that there are a few favourites. We take confidence in the fact that we've played good cricket over the last few years. But I think it's too early to tell who the favourites are. There are a lot of good teams in this tournament. I think we are concentrating on our game and as the tournament progresses, I think it will become clearer who is going to take charge."

South Africa will be hoping Richard Levi gets them off to a flyer today against what is one of the weaker attacks the Proteas have faced in some time.

Levi struggled in England, but displayed a glimpse of form in the warm-up victory over New Zealand, in Colombo on Monday.

With Jacques Kallis playing the anchor role and Amla in the form of his life, South Africa's top order will be an imposing lot for Zimbabwe - especially when one includes AB de Villiers in the mix.

There was a green tinge to the pitch at Mahinda Rajapaksa stadium yesterday, and that is not expected to disappear overnight. There was some good carry in the match between Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka and South African speedsters Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel will be kicking at the starting gate.

Allrounder Albie Morkel faces a late fitness test today after suffering back spasms against the Black Caps. If he fails to make the grade, Farhaan Behardien could be brought in to clear the boundary at the death.

Zimbabwe's embarrassing defeat against Sri Lanka will in all likelihood result in their having the worst net run rate in the group. Their spirits will be lifted, however, by the fact that they will not come across the trickery of Sri Lankan spinner Ajantha Mendis again and will be more at ease facing the likes of Johan Botha and Robin Peterson. But it was in the field where Zimbabwe let themselves down. There were dropped catches and myriad misfields and they will need to step up their game.

The equation is pretty simple for De Villiers's side: a win would see them through to the Super Eights stage, a defeat would mean having to beat Sri Lanka on Saturday.

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Any kind of win is good, says Amla

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