Mumbai, Oct 24 (IANS) Top South African batsman Hashim Amla on Saturday made it clear that the visitors will aim to score as many runs as possible and defend it against a confident India in the fifth and final match of the One-Day International (ODI) series at the Wankhede Stadium here.

The series stands level at 2-2 after India won the fourth and penultimate match in Chennai on Thursday. “Scoring a lot of runs and defending it will be the key tomorrow. If we can play our best cricket we will win. It is not the greatest game but is a very important game for us,” Amla said ahead of the fifth ODI on Sunday.

“It has been a very close and exciting ODI series. We managed to win four games out of six and it is really good going for our side. Both teams in the ODIs have been extremely competitive. Tomorrow will be an exciting game. Both teams have exciting teams and positive mindset.”

The Proteas had clinched the three-match Twenty20 International series 2-0 that preceded the 50-over contest. The 32-year-old pointed out that pacer Morne Morkel will most likely miss the match due to injury, but a final call will be taken on Sunday morning. “I don’t think Morne is fit enough to play tomorrow. He bowled in the nets, but we will make a final call tomorrow,” he said. Amla believes JP Duminy’s injury was a big loss for the team, considering he is effective both with the bat and the ball.

“Losing JP was bad. He has been a consistent performer for us over the years. He brings great balance to the team and brings in spin bowling as well,” he said. Amla himself has not been among the runs lately but believes a big knock is around the corner and wished it comes on Sunday. “Obviously I would have liked to score more runs but you can’t score runs all the time. Others also get a chance to score. It will be great if I get good runs tomorrow. As a batsman I would like to contribute for the team and the time will come soon. Most of the innings I have got something going, but I am getting out all the time,” he added.

The right-hander, who is South Africa’s Test skipper, said the change in ODI rules has given bowlers a lifeline. The International Cricket Council (ICC) scrapped the batting powerplay in ODIs and permitted five fielders outside the 30-yard circle in the last 10 overs instead of three fielders. “The start is very important. It has been good going for us in the top-order.

Towards the back end, it has changed a bit because we were used to five men inside the circle in the later overs. It will give the bowlers a bit of chance in the back end of the game. It has given the bowlers a chance in the ODIs,” the Durban-born said. Amla further added that spin will play a vital role. “Spin has been a big part in the tour and I feel it will be so later on also. We all know subcontinent wickets will turn and there is nothing new about it.”


    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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