Heinrich Klaasen, Tristan Stubbs must dominate middle overs for Proteas at T20 World Cup

PROTEAS star Heinrich Klaasen has quickly built a reputation as one of the most destructive batters in the T20 format. Photo: BackpagePix

PROTEAS star Heinrich Klaasen has quickly built a reputation as one of the most destructive batters in the T20 format. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Jun 1, 2024



MOMENTUM and early release of pressure will be up for grabs when the Proteas begin their T20 World Cup campaign on Monday against Sri Lanka (4.30pm SA time start) in New York.

We selected our possible starting XI that will begin the journey to breaking their trophy drought at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium...

Quinton de Kock: The 31-year-old Lucknow Super Giants batter is the leading run-scorer for South Africa in this format with 2 341 at a strike rate of 138.11.

Despite his recent run of poor form, De Kock remains one of the world’s most dangerous openers, and his talent and experience will still make him a threat, regardless of form.

Reeza Hendricks: The opener’s debut series against Australia in 2014 has been followed by inconsistent runs in the Proteas team, through no fault of his own.

Hendricks’ decent performances in the SA20 and CSA T20 Challenge have earned him a spot in the squad, and he is on target to have a strong tournament, with good signs of form in the build-up.

Aiden Markram (captain): One of two Under-19 World Cup winners with South Africa in this squad, he was captain of the junior side in 2014, and will also lead the Proteas for the first time in a major tournament. Markram has scored a total of 1 118 T20I runs at a strike rate of 150.67, and has also led the Sunrisers Eastern Cape to two SA20 titles.

Tristan Stubbs (wicket-keeper): The right-handed batter’s immense growth in his all-round game has seen him represent South Africa in all three formats in the past 18 months. Fresh off an impressive Indian Premier League with the Delhi Capitals, the 23-year-old will have a lot of responsibility in a formidable middle order that will be expected to dominate the opposition bowling.

David Miller: The experienced 34-year-old left-handed batter is the second-highest run-scorer for South Africa with 2 227 since his debut in 2010 against the West Indies. His strike-rate of 145.27 outlines his ability at the back-end of an innings, but it will be his ability to bat with the tail that could make the difference.

Heinrich Klaasen: From the fringes to the top of the food chain, Klaasen has quickly built a reputation as the one of the most destructive batters in this format. He will carry with him a ‘dangerman’ tag that will give the Proteas fluency and stability in the middle order. But it will be his ability to take on an attack that could be the difference between the World Cup title and another heartbreaking tournament for the South Africans.

Marco Jansen: The tall 24-year-old didn’t have the best of IPL tournaments, but he is still the best all-rounder in the country. His ability especially with the ball gives South Africa good balance and options in how they set up their team, but he will also need to put up a solid showing with the bat.

Keshav Maharaj: The left-arm spinner is the most consistent and reliable player in the line-up. His leadership and experience will come in handy when needed. His control and accuracy on an unknown surface could prove vital in the opening three fixtures.

Kagiso Rabada: The spearhead of the Proteas bowling attack has played 56 matches, which yielded 58 wickets at an economy rate of 8.61 runs per over. His experience bowling with the new ball and at the death around the world, including for the MI New York franchise, could work in his favour.

Gerald Coetzee: The 23-year-old has had some good and bad moments in the IPL, with his ‘death’ overs coming under fire. It’s an area he should fix quickly, but even so, when he gets it right, his pace and accuracy make him a weapon

Ottniel Baartman: The 31-year-old had a debut to remember against the West Indies last week, picking up 3/26. His ability to execute when the heat is on in the ‘death’ overs has made a name for him locally, and it could be the same at international level.