Proteas coach confident in ability to chase down target in semi-final

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The coach of the South African limited overs cricket team, Rob Walter says they will not have a problem batting second in their ICC Cricket World Cup semi-final clash against Australia in Kolkata on Thursday.

The Proteas have not done well chasing big scores in this World Cup in India.

The Proteas did not bat second in many matches prior to coming to the World Cup, which gave the critics doubts coming into this tournament.

They stumbled on occasions but showed mental strength and character chasing down a testing total against Afghanistan in their last match.

Walter says they know how to deal with batting second. “I think it’s because we haven’t done it a lot this year. Sporadically over the year, we have chased ten times. We had a string of games, an Aussie series that led into the World Cup where we batted first a lot from a blueprint point of view, we try not to overthink the idea of chasing, it is just a matter of getting a few fundamentals right in order to get the chase done right, one of that is to get a centralized figure in the batting and one of those was Rassie van der Dussen during the last game.”

Australia will be searching for a record-extending sixth ODI World Cup title.

Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell will pose a serious threat to the Proteas bowling arsenal after coming off an incredible match-winning double-century against Afghanistan last week.

Walters says Maxwell is a great batsman but prone to making mistakes.

“It’s kind of what you would expect from Glenn Maxwell, the arrays of shots that he played, the different scoops that he played there was no shot that he played that I haven’t seen him play before and for him to do it on a historical day was pretty exciting to watch. Let’s hope he won’t repeat those antics against us, but he created an opportunity early that Afghanistan didn’t capitalise on, and he creates opportunities because of the way he plays, and if he creates something we will jump on it.”

Top SA all-rounder, Marco Jansen, was a surprise omission against Afghanistan in the last group match, but Walter says he was just being rested.

“There was a lot of unnecessary conjecture as to why he wasn’t playing but he is a young man with a high workload that started in South Africa leading into this World Cup. It was a nice opportunity to allow him to step away and refresh and he has a spring in the step he is ready to rumble so I am looking forward to seeing him get up there.”

There are some of the Proteas players who have not been part of a World Cup semi-final before such as Jansen and Gerald Coetzee. And Walter says they will bring enthusiasm and fresh energy to the team against Australia.

“There are a lot of guys that haven’t been part of the semi-final in the World Cup but these two young lads bowl so well and very often people talk about you can’t buy experience and it’s true but the experience is only valuable if it makes an impact in a team you playing in and these guys have come in and brought fresh energy, very different in terms of the things they do and the skills sets they have and they are both wicket-takers.”

The Proteas will be looking to reach the World Cup final for the first time in history on Thursday.