Dubai – After a difficult week where the were plenty of distractions, the Proteas are preparing to face a Sri Lankan team that pose plenty of threats in the unique conditions of Sharjah.
IOL Sports' Zaahier Adams, who is in the UAE courtesy of Emirates Airlines, picks five Proteas that need to shine against Sri Lanka on Saturday.
1) Quinton de Kock
The spotlight could not be any brighter than it will be on De Kock in Sharjah. In his first game back since withdrawing from the clash against the West Indies, all the camera lens will be zoomed in on De Kock too see him take the bended knee. Only once that is done, can the focus change to him scoring runs again. The Proteas will also be needing it as they are yet to get off to a positive start with the bat in this World Cup.
2) Temba Bavuma
The captain's credentials grew exponentially this past week in terms of the professional manner in which he dealt with the De Kock #Kneegate saga. However, Bavuma needs runs after unnecessarily running him out against the Windies. The Proteas need a solid start and their captain needs to lead from the front on the field just as brilliantly he has done off the field.
3) Heinrich Klaasen
It will be interesting to see whether the selectors opt to drop Reeza Hendricks, who looked in good touch against the Windies, to accommodate De Kock's return or make the switch lower down the order with Klaasen dropping out. If Klaasen indeed keeps his place in the starting line-up, he must surely know time is running out to make an impact as strike-rate alone will not keep him in the team forever. It needs to be accompanied by runs.
4. Tabraiz Shamsi
Amidst the De Kock dramas and euphoria later of the Proteas having won their first game of this T20 World Cup, Shamsi's performance against the Windies slipped under the radar. The left-arm wrist spinner endured his worst day at the office in almost two years as he conceded 37 runs in three overs at an economy rate of 12.33. The Windies had certainly done their homework after Shamsi had tied them up in knots in the Caribbean. He was equally effective against Sri Lanka recently and will want to show that was just a once-off and that he is the No 1 T20 bowler in the world for a reason.
5. Dwaine Pretorius
The all-rounder has become a pivotal part of the Proteas' bowling attack, which has allowed them not to utilize three specialist spinners thus far. The knock-on effect is that the Proteas batting line-up is significantly stronger with Pretorius at No 7. He has been excellent with the ball thus far, but the opportunity may arise against Sri Lanka where Pretorius needs to step up with the bat.