x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

South Africa aim to make it 4-1 against Pakistan, says Quinton de Kock

Opening batsman, who has done exceedingly well in place of injured Graeme Smith, hopes to end ODI series in UAE on a high. Plus cricket news from other parts of the world.

Quinton de Kock feels he has a responsibility as a replacement for Graeme Smith, the injured South Africa opening batsman. Hassan Ammar / AP Photo
Quinton de Kock feels he has a responsibility as a replacement for Graeme Smith, the injured South Africa opening batsman. Hassan Ammar / AP Photo

Quinton de Kock, the dashing South Africa opener, vowed his team will go for a 4-1 win over Pakistan in the fifth and final one-day game on Monday.

The left-hander, 20, smashed his first hundred to help South Africa beat Pakistan by 28 runs in the fourth ODI at Abu Dhabi on Friday, taking an unassailable 3-1 lead. And De Kock said South Africa will go for the kill.

“We definitely look to get it 4-1 and that is our main goal and if we do that it would be awesome,” he said after team practice on Sunday, adding his innings was more pleasing as it helped his team win.

“It was great,” said De Kock of his 135-ball 112.

“It was a tight knock and I enjoyed it a lot and it was more good for the team that with the match we won the series, so it was good.”

The Gauteng-born De Kock said his hard work paid off after a disappointing one-day series in Sri Lanka in July.

“I got back and worked hard and did a lot of analysis and technical work and that is paying off,” said De Kock who had scores of 20, eight and 27 in Sri Lanka. “It was difficult to face Pakistani spinners, it’s always a big challenge but I am happy that the hard work is paying off.”

He replaced injured Graeme Smith in the fourth match after instantly making his mark with a 40 in the third match, which South Africa won by 68 runs.

“I wouldn’t say that I have replaced Graeme, they are big shoes to fill, so I have to make sure that I meet those standards,” said De Kock, who was dropped by Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez off paceman Sohail Tanvir when on three at Abu Dhabi. “It’s great to be in the team. All accept me what I am and it’s a great team environment.”

Pakistan’s newcomer, Sohaib Maqsood, 26, said his team will try to salvage some pride in the final ODI match at Shajah Cricket Stadium. “It is true that the series is gone but on Monday we will have another international match and we will do our best to win it,” said Maqsood, who made an aggressive 56 on debut in the fourth match.

“There is huge disappointment in the camp over the series loss but we have another match to play, then two Twenty20 and then a short tour of South Africa, so the focus is to do better.”

After the one-day series, both teams will play two Twenty20 internationals in Dubai, on Wednesday and Friday, before the teams move to South Africa to play two Twenty20s and three one-day matches.

Pietersen confident of recovery

England have fresh injury concerns ahead of next week’s Ashes series opener, with star batsman Kevin Pietersen sent for treatment on a sore knee following a scare over wicketkeeper Matt Prior.

Pietersen would have a cortisone injection, coach Andy Flower said, adding that he hoped the pivotal player would feature in England’s final warm-up match against an Invitational XI starting in Sydney on Wednesday.

Flower said that he was confident that Pietersen, who put off surgery to play in the series, would be fit for the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, starting on November 21.

The batsman, 33, has been working overtime in the gym to strengthen his knee, which he damaged on England’s tour of New Zealand earlier this year.

“Kevin has had a slight recurrence of that knee issue, and he’ll be going to Melbourne for a scan and a cortisone injection — so he won’t be travelling with the rest of the team,” Flower said late on Saturday. “I don’t think it’s going to be a huge issue. He’s had a couple of these injections before, and they’ve been successful.”

Pietersen later tweeted: “I am fine.”

Flower said the effects of the cortisone injection lasted for months and there was no concern about Pietersen’s condition in the England camp.

“I’m working on my legs, hoping they hold up because I’ve had the knee issue so I’ve just got to make sure the rehab continues,” Pietersen told the England and Wales Cricket Board website.

Pietersen was dismissed for just eight runs in the rain-ruined match against Australia A in Hobart, which finished on Saturday, after sitting out the tour opener in Perth.

Prior will have scans after suffering a calf strain in that drawn four-day match. He is unlikely to play in Sydney but England hope the wicketkeeper-batsman will be able to take the gloves in Brisbane.

Sri Lanka-New Zealand game washed out

Bad weather forced the first one-day international between New Zealand and Sri Lanka to be abandoned in Hambantota on Sunday, cutting short an impressive display by the hosts. New Zealand were 13 for one from 4.2 overs in reply to Sri Lanka’s 288 for nine when heavy rain lashed the southern port city and wiped out the rest of the match.