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Cricket | SA Team

SA not taking NZ lightly - Du Plessis



New Zealand may be viewed as the underdogs heading into their three-match Twenty20 (T20) international series against South Africa but new Proteas captain Faf du Plessis will not be taking the Black Caps lightly.

The series kicks off at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on Friday and Du Plessis said that his previous experience of playing against New Zealand will help to make sure that the Proteas do not underestimate their opponents.

Du Plessis was part of the team which crashed out of the 50-over World Cup against New Zealand last year and he said that he would draw on that knowledge to prepare his first squad as South Africa captain for battle.

“The one thing that the Kiwis always bring to the party is that they are very competitive. I’ve played a couple of series against them now so I can share that knowledge with the younger guys. They are a very competitive team so we are expecting a really tough series,” Du Plessis told a news conference in Durban on Thursday.

“The Kiwis always play as the underdogs. They like that tag but I think that this series is an equal competition. I rate them quite highly. During the World Cup a lot of teams might have thought that New Zealand was going to be an easy game but I learnt the hard way that you can’t underestimate any opposition and they are even more dangerous in T20 because they have quite a few match winners,” he added.

South Africa have a relatively inexperienced squad with left-arm spinner Aaron Phangiso, wicketkeeper/batsman Quinton de Kock and all-rounder Chris Morris all uncapped.

De Kock is certain of making his debut on Friday after AB de Villiers withdrew from the squad in order to rest up ahead of the two-test series against New Zealand which starts in the New Year.

Du Plessis lamented De Villiers’s absence but said that it would provide an opportunity for his replacement to stake their claim for a regular place in the team.

“You can’t replace AB. He is, in my opinion, one of the best batsmen in the world so to fill that gap will always be tough but it is an opportunity for a young player. In South Africa we are blessed with good first-class cricketers so the guys coming in have proven themselves,” he said.

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