South Africa vice-captain, Hashim Amla, expects another closely contested battle in the series-deciding fifth One-Day International (ODI) against India in Mumbai on Sunday. The series momentum has ebbed and flowed between the two teams and is all set up for a thrilling climax at the iconic Wankhede Stadium. Amla says: ‘It’s been a very exciting and close one-day series. If you look at the tour, we have managed to win four games out of six so it’s been a good run from our side. Both teams have been competitive in the ODI’s, we both have positives and things to work on, it’s going to be an exciting game.’
Amla, currently the number two-ranked ODI batsman, has had uncharacteristically low scores of 37, 17, 5 and 7 in the series, but remains positive of a good knock being ‘around the corner’. The 31-year-old is 15 runs away from 6 000 ODI runs, and is set to break Virat Kohli’s record as the fastest batsman to the landmark. Kohli achieved the record after 136 innings, while Amla has only batted in 122 innings before Sunday’s match.
Amla says: ‘Every batter feels like a big one is around the corner, even if you score a 100. I have been batting quite well, I think in most of the innings I’ve managed to get something going but managed to get myself out. Cricket is like that, for every batter the next innings is the most important one.’ Amla believes there is enough depth in the squad to fill the voids left by the injured pair of JP Duminy and Morne Morkel, despite the challenge of finding a suitable balance for the conditions at the Wankhede Stadium.
He says: ‘I don’t think Morne will be fit enough to play even though he bowled a bit in the nets, they will probably make the final call in the morning. Losing JP (Duminy) was a big loss, he has been an unbelievably consistent performer for us over the last couple of years and adds great balance to our team with his off-spin as well. That is why you have a squad, no big series is ever won by 11 players. You usually have 15 players who can contribute at different times, this is one of those times for us.’