‘We are all under pressure. We are 3-0 down and what more pressure do you need’
South Africa all-rounder Chris Morris, on Friday, conceded that the whole team is under tremendous pressure ahead of the ‘do or die’ fourth ODI, as a dominant India eye a first-ever series win, in Johannesburg, on Saturday.
The Men in Blue have a 3-0 lead in the six-match series and will become the first visiting side to beat the Proteas in ODIs at home since 2013, if they achieve this milestone.
"It's do or die for us now. It's natural pressure. If we lose one more, that's the series gone," Morris said on the eve of the match.
"... So we'll be fighting for every single ball, every single run out there. So a lot of pressure but what's cricket without pressure? It's boring."
South Africa woefully struggled to get their act right in the matches gone by.
"Look at the moment, we are all under pressure. We are 3-0 down and what more pressure do you need. Every single guy in the team is feeling pressure. We know we've under performed, and we know the way we've lost hasn't been good.
"I think we are all dying to put on a good performance tomorrow and to show that we can really play this game and what we are capable of," he added.
South Africa have had a huge boost ahead of this fourth ODI with star batsman AB de Viliers returning to the fold. He batted fluently in the nets today and is sure to play the game with either one of David Miller or Khaya Zondo missing out.
"AB is good to go. As far as I know, AB is playing tomorrow. He has always got inputs - doesn't matter if it's spin, seam, behind the back. It doesn't matter what inputs he's got, it's always good.
"I'm sure AB will have a few pointers for the guys on how to handle spin and how to play spin, maybe a few different attacking options. When AB talks you listen because it's always helpful."
De Villiers missed the first three matches due to an injury.
“Apart from what he brings on the field, it's what he brings off the field. He brings that calmness and he brings that experience. To have a world-class player come back and play for South Africa is a special, special occasion.”
"I don't think he is feeling any added pressure. He is just going to come in and be AB de Villiers. I think AB de Villiers being AB de Villiers is a very dangerous player."
Wrist spinners have been a major challenge for the South African batsmen, with Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal picking up 21 out of 30 wickets so far.
"I wouldn't say there are any new plans to be very honest. I think there will be a lot more video work done, lots of guys watching the hand, watching the ball and I think just maybe change our options.”
"I don't think there are any major plans with different techniques and different tactics against the spinners. It's about doing a little bit more hard work and playing a positive game, and stop focusing on what's around you," said Morris.
India have taken an unassailable lead in the series, with Kuldeep and Chahal contributing handsomely.
"We're not panicking, hitting more balls – it's not panic station. We know we played badly against spin, so we’ll take it on the chin and move on.”
"You never get surprised by spinners, especially Indian spinners. They do so well at home for a reason with spin bowling. They are a seriously good one-day unit, a seriously good Test unit and T20 as well.”
"You never get surprised when an Indian team comes up because you know what you’re going to get, and that's quality," he added.
Surprisingly enough, Morris said that South Africa were not too far off from victory in the first three matches despite the scoreline saying something else.
The pitch at the Wanderers is expected to be a typical South African batting track with lots of pace and bounce.
"Every single cricketer is hoping for an old Wanderers wicket because they were nice to bat on. They were not very nice to bowl on.”
"It doesn't matter what you arrive to play on: if it's turning, if it's quick, if it's seaming, it's low and slow, we've just got to play," said Morris.
The Proteas have never lost on 'Pink Day', celebrated to create awareness and collect funds for breast cancer.
"We play for a good cause (Pink Day). It's become quite a good tradition to play in pink. We're very lucky as cricketers to do what we do and be healthy.”
"There are people around the world struggling with cancer, struggling with breast cancer in particular. It's a special occasion and we've got a lot of emotional attachment to the game.”
"We've got that record (unbeaten in Pink ODIs) but records speak for nothing."