Four takeaways from Proteas’ opening win

The Proteas comfortably beat Sri Lanka in their opening match of the ICC T20 World Cup on Monday. | AFP

The Proteas comfortably beat Sri Lanka in their opening match of the ICC T20 World Cup on Monday. | AFP

Published Jun 5, 2024



Proteas captain Aiden Markram’s loss at the toss was probably the only shortfall his team suffered on a day which saw them make huge strides in their quest for a maiden World Cup win.

Chasing 78 runs to win in their opening ICC T20 World Cup match against Sri Lanka in new York on Monday, South Africa eased to a six-wicket win with 22 balls to spare under tough batting conditions.

The victory might have cleared a bit of uncertainty over what the Nassau County International Cricket Ground surface might have in store, but in the same breath, it also raised a few new questions.

Nonetheless, the Proteas walked away with maximum points and a healthy run rate as they now turn focus to their nemesis, the Oranje of the Netherlands.

Marco Jansen. | AFP

Jansen’s lack of game time might have done him well

Marco Jansen, without much game time in the IPL, seemed to have benefited from the unintended break away from the game. He hit the ground running immediately up front, laying the foundation for the rest of the attack.

Collectively, the bowlers had a great outing. With a lot of support from the surface, they hit their areas and ceased the advantage. The bowling changes were timely and kept Sri Lanka on the back foot without allowing them to build any momentum.

Anrich Nortje. | AFP

Nortje return to form

Anrich Nortje’s figures of 4-7 were responsible for Sri Lanka’s downfall. The Lions struggled to deal with his pace and bounce, but it was his accuracy that stood out most, especially after coming under heavy fire in recent matches with his place in the team also up in the air.

The 30-year-old bowled himself into form and career-best figures with two fixtures still to follow at the same ground.

Quinton de Kock. | AFP

Tough pitch, decent outing for the batters

Out-of-form Quinton de Kock’s 20 off 27 balls was hugely out of character but without any scoreboard pressure, he needed to see the team through to the end and to boost his confidence. His patient stay and application played a huge hand in not letting Sri Lanka get a chance at early wickets and victory.

The rest of the batters adapted well to conditions and made the necessary adjustment and played according to what the pitch required. In the end it turned out to be a comfortable victory and one that might benefit them mentally moving ahead.

Ottniel Baartman. | AFP

Baartman heeds the call

Sunrisers Eastern Cape paceman Ottniel Baartman was once again impressive and showed no signs of inexperience. His maiden World Cup wicket opened the floodgates and allowed South Africa to bowl Sri Lanka out cheaply.

His figures of 1-9 outlined his ability to bowl in all phases of the game, having displayed the same accuracy with the old and new ball. The win was a huge confidence boost for the whole side, but with a lot of the pressure placed on the batsmen, the bowlers will take a lot from their display.