Zimbabwe go into the game on Thursday after losing their opener to Sri Lanka by 82 runs, while the Proteas won their warm up game against New Zealand easily. But the sides met in an unofficial series in Harare earlier in the year and the Zimbos came out on top, twice.
But Amla is not worried about a backlash, saying the South African are well prepared for anything their neighbours ‘bring to the party’ and will be looking to get on top from the get-go.
The affable batsman said: “Zimbabwe are a professional team, they must want to improve on their performance but we are coming well prepared so whatever they bring to the party, obviously we need to be better than that.
“I think we need to start well, each T20 game is different and getting a victory for a good start, that’s what we are looking for. That has been our aim; fortunately we’ve had a good preparation coming here.”
Amla was quick to dismiss the ‘favourites’ tag all and sundry have been lumped with, saying the tournament had only started and there was no way to make such a judgement.
He said: “A lot of people have said that there are few favourites (in the event), suddenly we take confidence that we have played good cricket over the last year or so but it’s too early to tell that who the favourites are.”
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe coach Alan Butcher said his side were still positive after their defeat to Sri Lanka, and would be working hard to get over the disappointment and show their quality against the Proteas.
He said: “Obviously it’s our last chance to progress in the tournament and to do so we will have to put in a vastly improved performance than against Sri Lanka, which after all the hard work was a big disappointment.
“We have to pick ourselves and be positive against what we know is a very good side. We need to put in a performance we can all be proud of.”
In team news, the five South African players that came down with stomach complain will be ready to play on Thursday, according to team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee.
He said, without identifying the players: “We have a few guys who’ve gone down with viral infection, vomiting and diarrhoea but I am happy to say that they are on the mend.
“I am hopeful all 15 will be fit to take the field today.”