While South Africa get themselves all revved up for a fivematch oneday international series against Australia starting next week, they would do well not to look too much further than Ireland in Benoni tomorrow.
The Proteas face the Irish in a full international which will basically serve as a warm-up fixture to what lies ahead against the old foe.
The Irish will not cause too many sleepless nights in the Proteas camp, although their success at one-day international level is better than both Zimbabwe and New Zealand.
Yes, Ireland play mostly against the minnows but as some top-tier nations will attest to, they have the ability to upset even the best on their day.
Australia‚ India‚ New Zealand‚ South Africa and Sri Lanka have never been beaten by Ireland but that leaves the likes of Pakistan, West Indies and England who have tasted defeat.
South Africa’s record against Ireland stands at played four, won four. To maintain that, the Proteas will need to beat a team that has the likes of William Porterfield‚ Paul Stirling‚ Gary Wilson and allrounder Kevin O’Brien in its ranks.
Few cricket fans will forget how O’Brien clubbed 113 off only 63 deliveries to bury England in the 2011 World Cup in India. He is also his team’s all-time leading wicket-taker, with 88 scalps.
It almost feels as if Ireland are ready to stage another upset, so the Proteas will know they need to have their wits about them.
Captain AB de Villiers was ruled out of tomorrow’s match with an elbow problem and Hashim Amla is being rested.
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