Abu Dhabi- South Africa have virtually been playing knockout cricket since their opening defeat to Australia but after seeing off Bangladesh by six wickets, skipper Temba Bavuma is excited about a potential do-or-die clash with England.
The Proteas are second in Group 1 of the Super 12 at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, and with a net run-rate advantage over Australia, know that a win over England might be enough to secure a spot in the last four.
For Bavuma, who scored an unbeaten 31 in the win in Abu Dhabi, the performance of fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, who took three wickets apiece, was a promising sign for the future.
He said: “It was a good day for us. There was quite a lot in the wicket early on, and KG (Rabada) and Nortje were able to exploit it. It was a good effort with the ball and then clinical with the bat as well.
“It excites us (seeing the ball fly through). The conditions reminded us of playing at home. We’re blessed to have both those guys running in with the new ball. It's never easy when you have one guy bowling 150 and another guy in KG who's got all the skill in the world.
“We wanted to get the score in a good time, but the conditions were a bit tricky. The ball was still nipping around but I guess you have to try to pounce on the loose ones and take away whatever pressure there was.
“It's a big game [against England], every game has been for us. Looking at the competition the way it is, it’s one that we want to play our best cricket. England have had the better of us recently, and we would like to make amends.”
While South Africa are dreaming of a potential semi-final, it was a tough afternoon for Bangladesh, who were skittled for just 84 batting first.
Without the injured Shakib Al Hasan, missing his first-ever ICC Men’s T20 World Cup match, Bangladesh were never able to build a platform and skipper Mahmudullah admitted that the batting display was under-par after being put in, although he was pleased with the performance of Taskin Ahmed who took two for 18.
He said: “I think the wicket was pretty good to bowl on in the first half. We weren't good enough in the middle. That was a poor batting display, but having said that there was enough assistance for the bowlers.
“Taskin has been bowling well in this tournament. We had the choice between Taskin and Fizzy (Mustafizur Rahman), but we wanted to give a chance to Taskin because he has been bowling well.
“It's frustrating, but we could have won two games. If we had won those games, it would have been a different story.”