South Africa's Quinton de Kock
South Africa's Quinton de Kock Image Credit: AFP

Lucknow: South Africa batsman Quinton de Kock predicted that Thursday's high-profile World Cup clash with old rivals Australia will be decided by a battle of "big egos".

De Kock, who will quit international cricket at the end of this tournament, has enjoyed being part of a Proteas side who have had the upper hand in recent years.

Since 2016, South Africa have won 15 of their 20 meetings with Australia in One-Day Internationals.

"The Australians and us have always had a great history, a good competitive background," said 30-year-old De Kock on Wednesday.

"Both teams are going to come out fighting tomorrow, and whoever makes the right choices under pressure will be the stronger team at the end of the day."

He added: "Both teams are strong teams, both got big egos, both want to win, want to beat each other."

South Africa got off to a scintillating start at this World Cup, piling up a tournament record 428 in a 102-run win over Sri Lanka in New Delhi.

De Kock cracked his 18th ODI century in that match but it was his first at a World Cup. Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen also hit centuries.

"I think I've been wanting a 100 for a while. Just for my personal self, it's been a while," said De Kock whose last ton came against India in Cape Town in January 2022.

"Just to tick it off in a World Cup and get the campaign started was a big thing for the guys' confidence."

After the World Cup ends, De Kock will officially remain available for T20 internationals but only when there isn't a clash with more lucrative franchise opportunities.

He will leave behind a legacy of almost 12,000 international runs across the three formats, and 25 centuries. He has scored hundreds in Tests, ODIs and T20 cricket.

However, De Kock insists he will have no regrets about closing the book on his 11-year South Africa career.

"I'm sure a lot of guys love the ODI format. I have been doing it for a couple of years now, so I find it quite tiring," he explained.

"But I'm sure there's still a lot of guys coming through the ranks, guys still at school, they still would love to play this format and I highly recommend that they find a way to keep it going."

For the moment, an elusive World Cup title remains De Kock's priority for a country who have fallen at the semi-finals on four occasions.

They have been in good form - arriving in India having overturned a 2-0 deficit to defeat Australia 3-2 on home soil last month.

"I think in order for us to be one of the best we need to be, we still need to be a bit more consistent," said De Kock who on Thursday will be playing in familiar surroundings - his Lucknow IPL team is based at the Ekana Stadium.

"Especially in tight games like World Cups. That will determine actually how good we are."