Hashim Amla has warned South Africa that they face the first of “three finals in a row” ahead of the third one-day international against England at Centurion tomorrow.
The 32-year-old batsman, who stepped down from the Test captaincy during the Proteas’ 2-1 defeat, believes their series begins at SuperSport Park as the hosts attempt to salvage something from the ODIs after losing the opening two games.
Defeat would be a huge setback, but Amla is determined to remain positive.
“It would be a blow, there’s no doubt about it,” Amla said.
“In the Test matches, we had a lot of setbacks with injuries, and in the one-dayers, we haven’t performed yet.
“But we’re not thinking about that. We’re out to win tomorrow, get some momentum for the next one and then hope to win in Cape Town as well.
“Everything starts tomorrow. It’s a massive motivating factor. We’ve got three finals in a row, and tomorrow is the first one we have to knock off.”
Quinton de Kock’s unbeaten century was not enough in their rain-affected Duckworth-Lewis opening defeat in Bloemfontein before England emerged victorious in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Despite the results, Amla saw reason for optimism in the team’s performances.
“I think in that last game we were pretty close,” Amla, who has scored a total of 10 runs in the two games, said.
“We played some good cricket at times and it was a bit of an improvement from the first game, although even there we were still in with a shout.
“I hope we can put it all together at once, consecutively in three matches.”
England’s batting line-up has been lauded throughout the series and the experienced opener admitted that the Proteas would love their opponent’s depth.
“They bat very deep, and I think that allows the English team to attack throughout the game,” Amla added.
“I think Adil Rashid is batting 10, and he’s got first-class hundreds galore.
“If you have the personnel, you can do it. But our best bowlers are playing, and our best batters are playing.”