Proteas have shown they can climb the ’Burj Khalifa’ at T20 World Cup
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Dubai - For the Proteas Men’s team to have come as far as this so quickly is staggering. The fact that they are within touching distance of a place in this T20 World Cup semi-finals is beyond belief considering what this side has endured the past 18 months.
And yet they still need to climb the height of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world that overlooks the metropolis of Dubai, for a rampant England side and possibly net run-rate stands between them and progression to the knockouts today.
But considering what they have endured on and off the field as a unit, captain Temba Bavuma believes their collective spirit will get them over the line.
“The team has gone through a lot over the last while, players, members of management, and I think we’ve learnt a lot about each other. We’ve grown a lot as a team in finding ways to get through all the tough times that we’ve gone through collectively,” Bavuma said of the virtual quarter-final in Sharjah.
“I think every game we only speak about going out and fighting it out as a team. We don’t leave it to individuals. We don’t rely on individual brilliance to bring it home for the team, but it’s all about us as a team giving everything that we want.
“Saturday won’t be any different. We’ll still be showing the same character, the same fight that we’ve shown while in this tournament.”
England are already the 50-overs kings and Eoin Morgan’s charges are besotted with adding the T20 jewel to their crown here in the UAE. They have already mathematically qualified for the semi-finals.
England pose a threat with the likes of Jos Buttler, Jason Roy, Eoin Morgan, Dawid Malan and Moeen Ali able to unleash the type of fireworks with the willow that would set alight any Diwali festival.
It’s for this reason that the Proteas need not just a character-filled display, but also one filled with skill and desire.
“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 mentally that’s where I would say that things shouldn’t be any different. Like I said, we’ll still be putting in our spirited effort. We’ll still be fighting to the end and playing as a team.
“England are obviously a strong side. We’ve seen that not just in this tournament but over the years. As a team we’ll know that we’ll have to be at our best in all our departments.”
The Proteas are mulling over a possible change in the batting unit with Heinrich Klaasen likely to be recalled at the expense of Reeza Hendricks, while the Sharjah surface also favours three specialist spinners. The latter course of action is unlikely though due to the sterling work of allrounder Dwaine Pretorius thus far.
LIKELY TEAMS FOR SHARJAH
South Africa: Temba Bavuma (captain), Quinton de Kock (wk), Rassie van der Dussen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Anrich Nortje.
England: Jason Roy, Jos Buttler (wkt), Dawid Malan, Jonny Bairstow, Eoin Morgan, Liam Livingstone, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, David Willey, Chris Jordan, Adil Rashid.
Start Time: 4pm SA time. TV: SS, Radio: SABC Radio 2000