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Proteas are eyeing Twenty20 triumph


Not even the irritation of a late change to the practice venue could disguise the quiet confidence within South African skipper Graeme Smith ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 Championships at Lord's on Sunday.

The Proteas, who arrived in England on Saturday morning, were due to practise at Southgate Cricket Club on Sunday.

On arrival the venue was not prepared for the Proteas' and the practice had to be moved to the afternoon at Lord's.

"We had a scheduled training session at Southgate, but when we rocked up, it was not on their schedule, so we then had to move here.

"So I must agree it has been an interesting first day and definitely a few things to be discussed in the technical briefing later," Smith said.

Smith was not too perturbed, though, as he was buoyed by the "mature" attitude his team displayed in view of this.

He believes that this attitude, complemented by experience gained in the recent Indian Premier League in South Africa, could drive the Proteas to success in England.

"The guys are definitely Twenty20 fit," he said.

"When you play 14 games in the IPL, it allows you time to formulate ideas."

South Africa have an opportunity to sharpen those skills today when they face Pakistan in their first warm-up match at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.

Coach Mickey Arthur has selected a virtual first XI, with pace bowlers Morne Morkel and Yusuf Abdulla and Cape Cobras all-rounder duo Justin Ontong and Robin Peterson sitting out.

Smith is expected to open the batting with Herschelle Gibbs, and not Jacques Kallis, who performed the role admirably for the Royal Challengers Bangalore during the IPL.

The skipper indicated that this could change as the Proteas have two further warm-up matches - against Sri Lanka on Wednesday at Lord's and a third against Ireland before the end of the week.

South Africa will also go into the clash against Pakistan with two spinners in Johan Botha and Roelof van der Merwe.

Pakistan are loaded with potential match-winners in skipper Younis Khan, Shoaib Malik and of course Shahid "Boom Boom" Afridi.

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