CAPE TOWN - While we’re still chewing on the dissected remains of the Proteas loss to England on Thursday in the opening match of the Cricket World Cup, Faf du Plessis and his men have no such luxuries.
They have already moved on, mentally, and are preparing to face Bangladesh on Sunday at The Oval at 11.30 am.
The Proteas need to register points and they will look to soothe the wounds inflicted by England, with the balm of victory against Bangladesh. But this is the World Cup, and there are no easy matches (even against the Bengal Tigers).
South Africa famously lost to Bangladesh in Guyana at the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies and they will have that on their minds, even though the Proteas have had the better of their last three encounters against Bangladesh.
The Proteas batsmen will be looking to make amends for letting the side down against England at The Oval. Bangladesh, meanwhile, possess some matchwinners of their own, though they are not the surprise package they used to be. South Africa should win one comfortably, with some room to spare.
Saturday sees New Zealand take on Sri Lanka; a match where, on paper, the Black Caps appear too strong for Sri Lanka. New Zealand are the perennial dark horses at World Cups, and their appearance in the final in 2015 was no fluke. They’re contenders.
With superstars like Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor in their team, expect them to beat Sri Lanka on Saturday, at 11.30 am, convincingly, and make a strong bid for the Cup from the start.
Also on Saturday at 2.30 pm, Afghanistan play Australia in a David and Goliath matchup that can only go one way. The Aussies have been relentless in 2019 and there’s no sign of them slowing down now that Steve Smith and David Warner are back in the fray.
Afghanistan are just happy to be in the tournament and will try not to embarrass themselves in the process. Some things are more important than winning a cricket match, and the cricket fraternity has welcomed Afghanistan warmly.
If you’re overwhelmed by all the talk about cricket and you’d rather settle for some good old-fashioned rugby, then the Lions versus Stormers clash at Ellis Park should keep you satisfied.
The Stormers are missing inspirational captain Siya Kolisi due to a knee injury, while the Lions have dropped flyhalf Elton Jantjies for “breaching team protocol”, which we presume is code for, “he’s causing kak in the team”. (That’s not an official statement by the way).
Anyway, it should be an entertaining, open game of rugby if both sides intend on improving their performances this season.
For something a little more fast-paced, the Blitzboks will be looking to put in an improved performance at the Paris Sevens after a poor showing in London. They play Wales, Kenya and Australia in the pool stage. It starts on Saturday at 11.42 am.
Without a doubt, the biggest viewing audience this weekend will have their eyes on the Uefa Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham on Saturday, 9 pm.
For all their talent and display of skills this season, neither team have any silverware to show for it and will be desperate to win this.
The Champions League has thrown up some all-time great matches this season and there’s no reason to believe this time will be any different. Both teams have potent strike forces and formidable defenders. The finals are often defined by a moment of brilliance or madness, not to mention the fierce rivalry that exists between these two English teams.
Liverpool, having come so close to winning the Premier League, will be motivated, while Tottenham – having pulled off a miracle against Ajax to even be in this final, will be hoping the gods smile on them one more time.
This article first appeared on EWN : Proteas prepare for Bangladesh clash