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Dhaka Tribune

Fresh mindset the key: du Plessis

Update : 03 Apr 2014, 05:11 PM

South Africa Twenty20 captain Faf du Plessis said his side needs to concentrate on the task in hand ahead of their World Twenty20 semifinal against India today. The Proteas are termed as ‘chokers’ for their record of stumbling in the knock-out phases of a major tournament. The last time they won a world event was back in 1998, when they won the ICC Knockout Trophy, now known as the ICC Champions Trophy, in Dhaka.

“I think I was in school, so I was very young. It is irrelevant to be looking at past performances. These T20 tournaments are what you do on the day. It is important as a team for us to go with a fresh mindset,” said du Plessis in the pre-match conference yesterday when queried if the game from 1998 will inspire his side.

The 29-year-old from Pretoria has been penalised twice for South Africa's slow over-rate in the tournament and also served one-match suspension in their group game against England. However, that does not worry du Plessis as he prioritises winning their semifinal even if it is by risking the final.

Du Plessis was sidelined with an injury during their opening game as AB de Villiers led on his absence. He returned in their close wins over New Zealand and Netherlands and on each occasion they were deemed to have been two overs short.

"I'll always be on the side of looking at the situation in front of you now," du Plessis said when asked whether he would try to ensure South Africa kept time better. "You can't be playing or making decisions like it's in the future.

"When it comes to crunch time it's important that you take your time and make sure you and the bowler are very clear in your decision making, I feel that's the best way to go. With the conditions here maybe favouring spin a bit more, we can get some more overs out of JP (Duminy) and that will also make sure the over rate is a bit quicker," he said.

When asked if South Africa feels they are close to history, du Plessis said, “We’ve felt like that a couple of times before. But if you look at it, India have been pretty much regarded as favourites, whereas we played much of the tournament as underdogs. No one really gave us a chance.”

Du Plessis is no stranger to quite a few members of the Indian team. He has shared the dressing room at the Chennai Super Kings with MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohit Sharma. Speaking about Dhoni’s captaincy, du Plessis said, “Yeah, I have really enjoyed my time at Chennai. I’ve learnt quite a bit from him as a captain, he is a very good leader. He has had huge success for India and his record speaks for itself. My style of captaincy is completely different to his. But it is nice to play with someone who has been in that role for long.”

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