Net run-rate key but Proteas ’need to find extra 5%’ to beat England at T20 World Cup
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Dubai - Proteas captain Temba Bavuma wants to focus firstly on beating England in their "must-win" game before worrying about net run-rates that may influence their progression to the ICC T20 World Cup semi-finals.
Bavuma's side slipped behind second-placed Australia (+1.031) on NRR after the Aussies thrashed Bangladesh by 10 wickets in Abu Dhabi and may need more than just a victory over the tournament's form team England.
However, the Proteas (+0.742) are in the fortunate position that they will know exactly what they need to do in terms of NRR as Australia face the Windies before South Africa and England lock horns at 6pm (4pm SA time) in Sharjah on Saturday.
"I think first of all, in the context of the event that we're at, tomorrow is obviously a big game. Some have even called it as almost our quarter-final. So I think from that point of view and looking at our expectations as a team coming to this event, we want to play our best cricket tomorrow.
"We obviously understand with Australia I think who are currently No. 2 in our group, with their superior run rate, there's not much I guess we can do from that point of view.
"I think the first point when we go out would be to win the game. I think that's the main point. Irrespective of where Australia within the group, we want to win that game, and we'll be striving to do so.
"What's happening with Australia, West Indies, I guess what helps us is that their game happens before our game, so we'll kind of get a better sense or understanding as to how we need to approach the England game. If Australia win, then it's going to come down to net run rate.
"We'll have an opportunity, I guess, somewhere along our game to control our net run rate or alter our approach. But I think the first point, without reading too much into everything else, is to win tomorrow's game, and then we can take it from there."
To achieve this primary objective the Proteas will certainly need to play their best cricket thus far of the tournament with all three disciplines needing to be on point. England are a highly-potent T20 outfit that are blessed with an abundance of free-flowing strokeplayers such as Jason Roy, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Dawid Malan and Eoin Morgan.
Keeping them in check will be a major priority, but Bavuma doesn't want his team do anything other than what has proved successful thus far.
"I think every game we've kind of had a tailored strategy, you could say, according to the opposition that we're playing. So I think that approach, that's not going to change in terms of our preparation, our planning when it comes to England. We'll put together plans that speak to their strengths and their weaknesses," Bavuma said.
"I think tomorrow is just find a way to add an extra five percent in all our departments. Like I said, coming up against England, we're going to have to be at our best. It'll just be us trying to find a way to up in every department.
"I think the bowling has been really good. The fielding, as well, has been really good. The batting, as well. But let's just find a way to just improve in every department of our game."