South Africa''s immediate target is QFs, says Botha

Written by: Pti
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New Delhi, Feb 21 (PTI) South Africa were one of thefavourites in the last two World Cups but in the ongoingedition, the hullabaloo surrounding the Proteas is less and itcan work wonders for the team, whose immediate aim is toqualify for the quarter-finals, said off-spinner Johan Botha.

Terming hosts India and defending champions Australia asthe favourites for the title, Botha said South Africa too hasthe potential to win the cup but they are in no mood to thinkabout it right now.

"I think in 2003 and 2007 we were favourites. This timethere are not lot of expectations from people (back home). Butstill within the team we believe we can go all the way in thetournament. So that''s nice. We need to get into the knock outround and if we have a few good games we can end up with thetrophy," Botha told reporters after his side''s first practicesession at the Services ground here.

"Lot of teams are favourites. India is there, Australiais there. Sri Lanka are a quality team. We can do ourbusiness. Our aim will be to get into the quarter-finals andfrom there have some good games and anything can happen," headded.

Just before the World Cup South Africa defeated India 3-2in a five-match ODI rubber back home and Botha said it was amorale-boosting series win for the Proteas.

"We will take bit of a confidence from that series. Weplayed against world class batsmen and spinners and it was agreat preparation for the team. Personally, it was really goodto play and see where my game was.

"But we want to be bit more attacking and pick wickets(in the World Cup). In South Africa seamers take all thewickets and you (spinners) just control the game," said Botha,who is also the Twenty20 skipper of South Africa.

Botha said so far the team''s preparation for thecricketing extravaganza went off well but was expecting a lowand slow wicket for their tournament opener against WestIndies at the Feroze Shah Kotla here.

"We had a two-week break (after India series) and neededsome good preparation. We have done that and the guys are keento go out there and play," he said.

"We had a good week in Bangalore. Conditions were littlebit different than here but today was a good outing for us.

That wicket today kept a bit low, and it bit like that onFebruary 24," said the right-hander, who is also a utilitybatsman down the order.

Asked about the type of wickets he was expectingthroughout the tournament which is being co-hosted by India,Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, he said, "In South Africa obviouslyit turns a lot less, so it is hard to ball there.

"But there will be bit more assistance here (for thespinners) and we can play more attacking role. In South Africawe try and keep the game tight and restrict other team. Herewe have more chance to get wickets." More PTI SSC AT

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