South Africa’s batting coach Dale Benkenstein knows it’s now or never situation for his side, has urged his batsmen to step ahead if Proteas want a semi-final spot. South Africa will take on Afghanistan on Saturday in Cardiff.
The Faf du Plessis led side has got a terrible start to the tournament, with just a single point in four matches. South Africa lost three games to England, Bangladesh, and India before their game against the West Indies was washed out.
Quinton de Kock, du Plessis, and Rassie van der Dussen have so far appeared good in patches but have failed to leave a match-winning mark.
Benkenstein wants his batsmen to spend some time on the pitch, as South African batsmen are yet to score a century or century partnership even after three concluded games.
“The message is that the batters have got to step up and we haven’t," he said.
“I feel like we are batting well but we just haven’t done it long enough. Everyone has got in. We’ve had opportunities to have a hundred partnerships and win matches but we haven’t done it.”
“We try and play quite an aggressive form of cricket. Scores are much higher than they used to be. Teams are scoring big totals so when you are in and you are dominating, you’ve got to try and make the most of it.”
“Sometimes we don't get that balance right. We try and accelerate maybe a bit too fast rather than getting our heads down and ticking it over and the batters getting us more to the end of the game.”
“We are practicing as hard as we can and trying to give the batters as much confidence as we can. We’re making them remember when they played well and that you can’t just become bad players in a week.”
South Africa still have their five games left, and if they can strategize spontaneously they can have better results.
“The difference in tournaments to international cricket is that in regular series you play the same opposition four or five times so you have an opportunity to start slow, to sum them up and then you can take them down,” he said.
“Here, you are playing one-off games. You are playing on different wickets and against different teams in every match.”
South Africa is now just a defeat away to make them nearly out of the competition, but Benkenstein feels what they need is just their first win to get the momentum.
“I really feel we are one game away from getting all those things right. If we get that right, the confidence levels will be up there and then we may peak at the right time,” he added.
“At previous World Cups, we have done very well and then when it came to the end of the tournaments, we’ve been feeling the pressure there whereas now, we’ve been feeling it from the start, from everybody. Maybe the story has just got a bit of a different script.”
(With Inputs from Cricket Next)