Cricket World Cup 2015: South Africa won't choke - AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers has scored 417 runs in six innings at the 2015 World Cup
World Cup quarter-final: South Africa v Sri Lanka
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground Date: Wednesday, 18 March Start: 03:30 GMT
Coverage: Live Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra & BBC Sport website; live text commentary on BBC Sport website on desktop, tablets, mobiles and app

South Africa are "not going to choke" in their World Cup quarter-final against Sri Lanka, according to captain AB de Villiers.

The Proteas have never won a knockout match at the World Cup, but De Villiers says history will have no bearing in Sydney on Wednesday.

"We can't focus on what happened back in the day," said De Villiers, 31.

"We're just going to play a good game of cricket tomorrow and come out on top. Simple."

South Africa won four of their group games as they qualified for the last eight as runners-up to India in Pool B.

South Africa's World Cup 'chokes'

South Africa have reached the semi-finals three times in the six World Cups since their reintegration in 1992 following a 22-year sporting boycott of the country during the apartheid era.

Those semi-finals appearances - in 1992, 1999, and 2007 - were achieved by qualifying for the last four through a round-robin group format.

Past mistakes
1999: Semi-final. South Africa needed one run off the final four balls against Australia at Edgbaston, but number 11 Allan Donald was run out with two balls to spare as the match ended in a tie, and elimination.
2003: Group stage. Shaun Pollock thought his side had beaten Sri Lanka on D/L. They hadn't - they had tied - and South Africa were out.
2007: Semi-final. South Africa were bowled out for 149 as they slipped to a seven-wicket defeat by Australia in St Lucia.
2011: Quarter-final. Chasing a modest 222 to beat New Zealand in Dhaka, South Africa collapsed from 108-2 to 172 all out.

De Villiers said: "I personally haven't put a lot of emphasis on what happened in 1999 and 2003, and 2007.

"What's important is we are playing in the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Wednesday."

South Africa lose the 1999 World Cup semi-final
South Africa tie with Australia in the 1999 semi-final, a result which sent the Proteas out

Farewell to Sangakkara and Jayawardene?

Sri Lanka batsmen Kumar Sangakkara, 37, and Mahela Jayawardene, 37, will retire from one-day internationals after the World Cup.

The pair have played scoring a combined 16,835 runs in ODIs, including 5,890 while at the crease together - second only to India's Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly.

Jayawardene was captain when Sri Lanka were beaten by Australia in Barbados eight years ago, while Sangakkara was in charge in 2011 as Sri Lanka lost to India in Mumbai despite a brilliant 103 off 88 balls from Jayawardene.

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said: "Hopefully we can make it a historical one by winning tomorrow and going into the semis again.

"Hopefully we can go to the final and win there and make it historical for two legends."

Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara
Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have played a combined 850 one-day internationals

The treatment room

South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis has recovered from the back injury that kept him out of the 146-run victory over the United Arab Emirates. Rilee Rossouw or Farhaan Behardien is likely to make way.

Sri Lanka left-arm spinner Rangana Herath, who has a finger injury, is rated by Mathews as "50-50".

Herath, 36, split the webbing between two fingers on his left hand attempting to take a catch in the win over England on 1 March and missed Sri Lanka's final two group matches against Australia and Scotland.

Mathews himself has recovered from an Achilles strain and will be fit to lead the side.

What do the stats say?

  • Sri Lanka have won seven of the past 10 meetings with South Africa, but only one of their previous four World Cup encounters
  • Three of the top four run scorers in the tournament - Kumar Sangakkara, AB de Villiers and Tillakarane Dilshan - will feature in the first quarter-final
  • Mahela Jayawardene averages 81 in World Cup knockout matches, but only 23 in 42 ODI innings against South Africa
  • Kumar Sangakkara needs one stumping to become the first wicketkeeper to take 100 in ODIs
  • Seven of the last eight ODIs between these teams have been won by the team batting first
  • 14 of the 20 matches in Australia at this World Cup have been won by the side batting first

Listen to highlights from Test Match Special's and 5 live Sport's 2015 World Cup coverage.

World Cup quarter-finals
South Africa v Sri Lanka, Sydney, 18 March
Bangladesh v India, Melbourne, 19 March
Australia v Pakistan, Adelaide, 20 March
New Zealand v West Indies, Wellington, 21 March

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