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ICC World Cup 2019 | Du Plessis Pleased By Return of Ngidi & Rabada

Cricketnext Staff | May 25, 2019, 2:49 PM IST

South African skipper Faf du Plessis enjoyed a fine start to the ICC World Cup 2019 campaign with a confident 87-run win over Sri Lanka in their warm-up game in Cardiff on Friday. The biggest gain for Du Plessis was return of his premier fast bowlers Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada from injuries.

Ngidi, who missed out on the IPL due to a side strain, was the more impressive of the two, claiming two early wickets in his opening four-over spell. Ngidi picked up 2/12 from his six overs as Sri Lanka were bundled out for 251 chasing 339 to win.

“I rate Lungi very highly. He is an exceptional fast bowler who is going to get wickets for us,” du Plessis said about his Chennai Super Kings and SA teammate Ngidi.

Rabada bowled seven overs on his return from a back injury that resulted in his early departure from the IPL and Chris Morris came back into the national side after his late inclusion in the World Cup squad.

“KG has been slowly building up, working on his action and working on his run-up. Today was the first time with he was bowling at full intensity,” du Plessis said after the warm-up game.

“Chris Morris was a bit rusty, he hasn’t played much cricket but he still has time to try and get over that rustiness,” the South African skipper added.

Morris will be competing with Andile Phehlukwayo and Dewald Pretorius for a place in the final XI, with du Plessis confirming that there is ‘definitely no space for three’ allrounders.

There may be room for two, but that would depend on the fitness of Dale Steyn, who is “progressing,” from a shoulder injury. “If our fast bowlers are all fit, we love that diversity in that attack,” du Plessis said.

Batting Woes

South Africa also have plenty to ponder in their batting line-up, with a middle-order that currently includes JP Duminy, David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen. Only van der Dussen scored significantly in the warm-up match (40 off 41 balls).

“Rassie has been exceptional for us the last 12 months. He fits in extremely well into any position: No.3, 4 and 5. He has put his name down for any of those positions,” du Plessis said. “Today was beautiful to see Hash (Amla) play, the way Hash plays: quietly killing the bowling attack,” he added.

The skipper top-scored with 88 off 69 balls to power his team to an impressive total. “It’s important to try and let my actions back up my words. I feel if I am asking the batting unit to play with more freedom, not to fear failure and to be courageous, then I have to do it when I bat out there in the middle.”

“I feel like the last year I have improved that aspect in my game. I have to keep making sure I lead with that."

Rabada Pleased on Return

South African speedster Rabada was in prime form in the IPL for the Delhi Capitals before a back injury cut his stint short. The 23-year-old was pleased by his return on Friday although he felt he was a bit ‘rusty’.

“I felt a bit rusty, but it was good to get a run out in the middle and get a feel for things again,” Rabada said after the match.

“There's no pain. I’m feeling alright, just rusty in terms of my bowling smoothness. But it's all a work in progress. That's why we have warm-up games so it'll be a challenge for me to get ready before the tournament starts.

"I've got my own cues I need to work on. I know that I just need to analyse a bit what happened against Sri Lanka and just work on a few things. I'm not really thinking about it too much. It's just a case of running in and focussing on my cues,” the South African pace spearhead added.

Rabada is now looking forward to the opening game of the ICC World Cup, which will be against England on May 30 at The Oval.

“It's great to play for South Africa again. It's an honour to represent your country on such a big stage as the World Cup."

"England is going to be a stiff challenge, but an enjoyable one. It's crunch time — the first game of the World Cup and it's going to go down in history. They're a strong team, with good batsmen and bowlers. Multiple players from our team have played against England, we're familiar with them and that helps. On the day, we have to rock up. With the quality they possess, we need to make sure we are on top." ​

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Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4027 115
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 4366 104
5 Australia 3270 99
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7748 277
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4720 262
4 India 8620 261
5 Australia 5471 261
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