The real test starts on Saturday, says Van der Dussen ahead of showdown against Australia

22 October 2021 - 09:58
By Tiisetso Malepa
Rassie van der Dussen is high on confidence after his maiden T20 international century on the eve of the opening World Cup match.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix Rassie van der Dussen is high on confidence after his maiden T20 international century on the eve of the opening World Cup match.

Proteas top-order batter Rassie van der Dussen has said while convincing wins over Afghanistan and Pakistan in their two warm-up matches will pump up the batters, the real test will be on Saturday in the team’s opening T20 World Cup clash against Australia in Abu Dhabi.

Van der Dussen smashed an unbeaten 101 at a strike rate of almost 200 to help the Proteas chase down 186 against a strong Pakistan side on Wednesday.

“It was a warm-up game. You have to be realistic about it,” said the 32-year-old Lions batter.

“It is a win but the real test starts on Saturday and we will take the lessons, good and bad and get up and do it all over again. Saturday is in front of us and we know what we need to do.”

Van der Dussen said it was vital for the batters to spend some time in the middle on wickets that are proving to be low and slow, especially at night where it gets skiddy in the United Arab Emirates.

“The batters have been batting very well and will take a lot of confidence from their time in the middle,” said Van der Dussen.

“Most of the guys have had a decent run in the middle and we know what to expect in terms of the conditions.

“A guy like Quinny has not come off yet and we still chased a high score. I don't think we'll be happy with our bowling performance.”

The Proteas bowlers had a decent start and restricted the scoring to 36/2 after the first six powerplay overs but they let Pakistan get away in the middle overs, which is something they cannot afford to repeat against the Australians on Saturday.

“They shouldn't have got that many. But there is a bit of confidence in knowing that even if you do get it wrong with the ball the batters can make up.”

Australia were soundly beaten by eight wickets against India in the final warm-up on Wednesday but that will count for nothing when they meet their old foes.

The Proteas will play the West Indies on October 26 in Dubai and against two yet-to-be-determined qualifiers on October 30 and November 2 before a confrontation with England in Sharjah on November 6.

The Proteas' impressive win over Pakistan was marred by an injury scare to Tabraiz Shamsi, who felt tightness in his groin four balls into his first over.

The leg-spinner was pulled off as a precaution and after assessment the medical team decided that he should sit out the rest of the match.

Shamsi is closely being monitored by the medical team but is expected to play against Australia at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium at 2pm, SA time.